Definition of archetype
- … the House of Commons, the archetype of all the representative assemblies which now meet …
- —Thomas Babington Macaulay
- He is the archetype of a successful businessman.
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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."
First Known Use: 1545See Words from the same year
See words that rhyme with archetype Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for archetype Spanish Central: Translation of archetype Nglish: Translation of archetype for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of archetype for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about archetype
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