archetype

noun
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 archetype (audio) \ or less commonly archetypical \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pi-​kəl How to pronounce archetype (audio) \ adjective
an archetypal English village
archetypally \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pə-​lē How to pronounce archetype (audio) \ or less commonly archetypically \ ˌär-​ki-​ˈti-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce archetype (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 The Indian independence movement, the popular archetype of nonviolent insurrection, was classified as a partial success—for one thing, the British did eventually quit India, but not within a year. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "How to Stop a Power Grab," 16 Nov. 2020 In the last four years specifically, the archetype of the witch exploded, and rightfully so. Washington Post, "Why ‘The Craft: Legacy’ director decided to make a witch movie for woke teens," 5 Nov. 2020 There is a Scrooge archetype: ruthless (but very well dressed) capitalist Estella (Betsy Wolfe), who like her namesake sees only the bottom line and is destined for ghostly reclamation. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arts & Culture Newsletter: ‘A Berkley Hart Christmas’ is the holiday special we need right now," 24 Dec. 2020 In these pages, Agnew is depicted as an archetype of Trump’s hard-right slash-and-burn style of politics. Washington Post, "Vice President Agnew’s misdeeds, and the challenges of holding him accountable," 18 Dec. 2020 In some ways, the whole affair resembles the Monster Hunter archetype established by Capcom in 2004, requiring you to study enemy attack patterns and use that information to dodge, parry, and counter. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Demon’s Souls PS5 review: A gorgeous game worth dying (repeatedly) for," 13 Nov. 2020 Each archetype provides some intriguing options to fill out the Orioles’ infield, and Hyde is right in that the internal options might hold some worthy solutions as well. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Breaking down the five ways the Orioles can fill their infield needs this winter," 16 Dec. 2020 Zhao gives her a big, sprawling backdrop of the American West against which to create a timely American archetype: independent yet connected, tough yet meltingly tender. Washington Post, "Best movies of 2020: Diverse thrills, chills, Dickensian laughs and a pandemic-friendly trip to Greece," 8 Dec. 2020 The ease stems from Levin’s sharp but winking dialogue, which allows each character to be the worst version of their archetype, and a trio of actors who aren’t deterred by a film that never wholly conforms to reality. Mark Olsen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: Movie history comes alive in ‘Mank’," 4 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for archetype

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The first known use of archetype was in 1545

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Archetype.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archetype. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for archetype

archetype

noun
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 archetype (audio) \ adjective

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