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

An ancient story preserved in oral traditions in rural France, Austria, and northern Italy was the archetype for the classic folktale familiar to most Westerners. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 In addition to Elvira Hancock and other disco darlings, Phillipe cited party girls of a more recent era, particularly Paris Hilton and Lil’ Kim, who walked in the show, as personifications of this archetype. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Disco Was Not Dead at The Blonds’s After-Party," 13 Feb. 2019 Some tiny homes completely rethink what a house should look like, while others look like pocket sized versions of architectural archetypes. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Behold, a tiny Tudor house with traditional style," 11 June 2018 Our film has plenty of archetypes and references to the book’s myths. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Big Fish’ in a big pond," 12 Apr. 2018 Fashion isn't the only way to tell your story; in this exploration of bridal archetypes, from the expected to the unconventional, bridal beauty breaks new ground. Carine Roitfeld, Harper's BAZAAR, "The modern bride is a rebel, a romantic, a maverick, a mother–and so much more.," 2 Apr. 2019 These archetypes and power imbalances can lend themselves to white-hot fantasies. Kate Sloan, Glamour, "25 Sex Fantasies Women Have That Are Totally Normal," 6 Apr. 2019 From the reboots of Charmed and The Craft to AMC’s A Discovery of Witches and Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the archetype of the witch is making its way right back into mainstream culture. Dianca London Potts, SELF, "8 Modern Witches Share Their Daily Beauty Rituals," 11 Apr. 2019 Joseph is an alternative to both of these dad archetypes. Joelle Monique, Teen Vogue, ""If Beale Street Could Talk" Highlights the Power of Love in a World Designed for Black People to Fail," 9 Jan. 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

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for archetype

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 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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