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 \ 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 Still, the archetype Viard portrayed was not the wanton woman, nor the ingenue. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chanel Creates Movie Magic with Its Spring 2021 Collection," 6 Oct. 2020 Each room is named after a creative archetype (The Architect, The Writer, The Gardener) and no two are the same. William Li, Town & Country, "Perfect Long Weekend Destinations Just Outside New York City," 5 Oct. 2020 In many ways, Chavie and Chaim Bruk are the archetype of Chabad emissaries. Josefin Dolsten, sun-sentinel.com, "Orthodox Jewish multiracial family in Montana wants to break adoption taboos," 25 Sep. 2020 But the archetype of the Republican female politician changed in 2008 with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s entrance onto the national stage, political analysts say. Naomi Nix, Bloomberg.com, "Today’s Republican Women Are Running Hard to the Right," 25 Sep. 2020 L'hystérie Karennesque might yield to their analysis, and even introduce a new archetype of the unruly woman, akin to Molly Bloom or Medusa. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "What French Feminism Can Teach Us About Karens," 18 Aug. 2020 The earliest of these structures were inspired by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1959 Seagram Building, which set the archetype until the 1980s. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "Why Every City Feels the Same Now," 24 Aug. 2020 In many ways, his childhood fits the archetype of a rural upbringing. Grace Oldham, The Arizona Republic, "He faced harassment from a brutal South Korean regime. Now Jae Chin is running for the Arizona Senate," 8 Sep. 2020 The cartoon archetype of a drunk person is a disheveled mess, with droopy eyelids, an erratic gait, and bubbles coming off their head—for some reason. Matt Simon, Wired, "Your Smartphone Can Tell If You’re Drunk-Walking," 7 Sep. 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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Archetype.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archetype. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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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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