ar·​che·​type | \ ˈär-ki-ˌtīp How to pronounce archetype (audio) \

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 How to pronounce archetypal (audio) \ or less commonly archetypical \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pi-​kəl How to pronounce archetypical (audio) \ adjective
an archetypal English village
archetypally \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pə-​lē How to pronounce archetypally (audio) \ or less commonly archetypically \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce archetypically (audio) \ 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

But the lack of cultural specifics combined with the fact that the characters are archetypes finally leaves Waiting for the Barbarians somewhat stranded. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Waiting for the Barbarians': Film Review | Venice 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 The Aviary, Next, Roister) has set its sights on the haute-est of culinary archetypes — the Wisconsin supper club. Phil Vettel,, "Ya hey where? Wisconsin-style supper club offers near perfect prime rib in a Fulton Market basement," 29 Aug. 2019 The accompanying cast steps out of a city-hall registry of Midwest archetypes. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The Enduring Appeal of Fading Pleasures," 27 Sep. 2018 Biblical and Shakespearean archetypes are trivialized by the new Disney. Armond White, National Review, "Fake Live-Action and a PC Agenda Ruin the New Lion King," 19 July 2019 Regardless of the style and archetype, the performance on the field is what will speak volumes. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Madden NFL 20’ goes through the motions," 2 Aug. 2019 Opened as Vacation Village in 1962, Paradise Point was, in its heyday, the archetype of themed resorts, and its sprawling layout on city-owned, waterfront land was a big draw for visitors. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hello, Margaritaville. Goodbye, Paradise Point. Resort undergoing $35M transformation," 26 July 2019 Gilgeous-Alexander’s arms sometimes appear to extend halfway past the paint, fitting right into the Thunder archetype of long, aggressive defenders. Michael Shapiro,, "Sophomore Check-In: Assessing Expectations for Luka Doncic, Trae Young in Year 2," 26 July 2019 But the Virgo archetype is mainly about order and everything in its place. Emily Simone, Allure, "A Lunar Eclipse Is Coming — Here's How It Will Affect Each Zodiac Sign," 15 July 2019

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

17 Sep 2019

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The first known use of archetype was in 1545

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More Definitions for archetype


ar·​che·​type | \ ˈär-ki-ˌtīp How to pronounce archetype (audio) \

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 How to pronounce archetypal (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on archetype

What made you want to look up archetype? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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