prototype

noun
pro·​to·​type | \ ˈprō-tə-ˌtīp How to pronounce prototype (audio) \

Definition of prototype

1 : an original model on which something is patterned : archetype
2 : an individual that exhibits the essential features of a later type
3 : a standard or typical example
4 : a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction (such as an airplane)

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Did You Know?

The prefix prot-, or proto-, comes from Greek and has the basic meaning "first in time" or "first formed." A prototype is someone or something that serves as a model or inspiration for those that come later. A successful fund-raising campaign can serve as a prototype for future campaigns. The legendary Robin Hood, the "prototypical" kindhearted and honorable outlaw, has been the inspiration for countless other romantic heroes. And for over a century, Vincent van Gogh has been the prototype of the brilliant, tortured artist who is unappreciated in his own time.

Examples of prototype in a Sentence

They tested the prototype of the car. He is developing a prototype for his invention. He is the prototype of a conservative businessman. The Sherlock Holmes stories are the prototypes of modern detective stories.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This particular set was a prototype of a new Samsung modular TV project. David Pierce, WSJ, "This Really Is the Next Revolution in TV Technology," 8 Jan. 2019 Housing All smiles for our #tbt #givemeshelter book launch @mocalosangeles last month pictured here are some of our fellows and Deputy Mayor Brenda Shockley visiting our #homesforhope prototype! Zoie Matthew, Los Angeles Magazine, "Here’s What’s Being Done to End L.A.’s Homelessness Crisis," 14 June 2018 Fulton then turns around and makes prototypes; once approved, the final umbrellas are manufactured to the Queen's specifications. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Umbrellas Are Custom Made to Match Her Outfits," 23 Mar. 2019 Today, battery development and testing is a physical process that requires experts to build prototypes first because there is no simulation software. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Mercedes Enlists Quantum Computing to Build a Better Electric Vehicle Battery," 25 Feb. 2019 Musk posted an eight-second video of the two prototype satellites when they were launched in February this year. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "SpaceX raising $500 million to help build satellite broadband network," 18 Dec. 2018 Development agencies in Rwanda are experimenting with flexible building prototypes to fill the gap between rapid urbanization and limited construction capacity. Diana Budds, Curbed, "3 ways architects can improve social equity," 8 Nov. 2018 Headphones Long before Spotify and Bluetooth earbuds, switchboard operators working the World Wars and military members used some of the first headphone prototypes. Cassie Shortsleeve, Popular Mechanics, "How 5 Everyday Products Have Changed Through the Ages," 10 Dec. 2018 Sketches of early prototypes and material experiments will live alongside Floyd wares in-situ. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Floyd opens shoppable ‘housewarming’ to launch new sofa," 2 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prototype.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prototype

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prototype

French, from Greek prōtotypon, from neuter of prōtotypos archetypal, from prōt- + typos type

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Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for prototype

The first known use of prototype was in 1552

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More Definitions for prototype

prototype

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prototype

: an original or first model of something from which other forms are copied or developed
: someone or something that has the typical qualities of a particular group, kind, etc.
: a first or early example that is used as a model for what comes later

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