archetype

noun
ar·​che·​type | \ ˈär-ki-ˌtīp \

Definition of archetype

1 : the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : prototype … the House of Commons, the archetype of all the representative assemblies which now meet …— Thomas Babington Macaulay also : a perfect example He is the archetype of a successful businessman.
3 psychology : an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C. G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual

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Other Words from archetype

archetypal \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈtī-​pəl \ or less commonly archetypical \ -​ˈti-​pi-​kəl \ adjective
an archetypal English village
archetypally \ -​pə-​lē \ or less commonly archetypically \ -​ˈti-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Did You Know?

Archetype derives via Latin from the Greek adjective archetypos ("archetypal"), formed from the verb "archein" ("to begin" or "to rule") and the noun "typos" ("type"). ("Archein" also gave us the prefix arch-, meaning "principal" or "extreme" and used to form such words as "archenemy," "archduke," and "archconservative.") "Archetype" has specific uses in the fields of philosophy and psychology. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, for example, believed that all things have ideal forms (aka archetypes) of which real things are merely shadows or copies. And in the psychology of C. G. Jung, "archetype" refers to an inherited idea or mode of thought that is present in the unconscious of the individual. In everyday prose, however, "archetype" is most commonly used to mean "a perfect example of something."

Examples of archetype in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Well, the writing’s great at least, poking fun at the Bruce Campbell machismo archetype with its one-liners and self-serious plot. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "GOG.com's winter sale kicks off with free copies of LucasArts classic Full Throttle," 13 Dec. 2018 The archetype was forged in the mid-1950s, in concert with the Jewish-American middle-class ascent. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 Lee, who created beloved titles like Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk and hundreds more, helped to change the superhero archetype and became one of the genre’s defining figures in the process. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Remembering Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Legend, Dies at 95," 12 Nov. 2018 Engage with, listen to, and feature people that may not fit the dominant wellness archetype. SELF, "7 Ways Experts and Influencers Can Make Their Nutrition Advice More Inclusive," 16 Oct. 2018 Sharks are archetype killers—often the apex predators of their environment, known for ripping prey to shreds. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "There's an Omnivore Shark That Loves Eating Plants," 7 Sep. 2018 For so long, a single archetype for the lingerie model was shoved down our throats: white, thin, tall, long hair, hourglass figure, full breasts, flat stomach. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Rihanna's Savage X Fenty New York Fashion Week Show Celebrated Women," 13 Sep. 2018 His media strategy since the premiere of To All the Boys seems to be pointed with military precision toward the archetype of the moment. Constance Grady, Vox, "Noah Centineo and the rise of the wholesome internet boyfriend, explained," 28 Sep. 2018 Not everyone is quite so obsessed with hierarchy or quite so terrified of powerful women — sorry, of the negative female archetype, the Great Mother, the Dragon — as Professor Jordan Peterson. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'archetype.' 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 archetype

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for archetype

Latin archetypum, from Greek archetypon, from neuter of archetypos archetypal, from archein + typos type

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Last Updated

19 Dec 2018

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The first known use of archetype was in 1545

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More Definitions for archetype

archetype

noun
ar·​che·​type | \ ˈär-ki-ˌtīp \

Medical Definition of archetype

1a : a primitive generalized plan of structure deduced from the characters of a natural group of plants or animals and assumed to be the characteristic of the ancestor from which they are all descended
b : the original ancestor of a group of plants or animals
2 : an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C. G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual

Other Words from archetype

archetypal \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈtī-​pəl \ adjective

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