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 Carl Gustav 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) \ 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 comes from the Greek verb archein ("to begin" or "to rule") and the noun typos ("type"). 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 archetype of an American motorcycle rider has become a white man on the open road, but Black Americans are just as steeped in motorcycle history and culture. Julius Constantine Motal, NBC News, 25 July 2022 Rooted in national history but evolved into cultural and consumer celebration, Memorial Day weekend is in many ways the archetype of a holiday. Vivek Bhaskaran, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Odessa Kelly is the political archetype of the happy warrior. Erik Morse, Vogue, 30 May 2022 The rest of the game's mechanics have been shifted from the Smash Bros. archetype to nudge players into using their special co-op powers. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 19 May 2022 Just our existence and our being is literally the archetype of streetwear. Essence, 2 June 2022 The flying squirrel may be the archetype, and some spiders, lizards and frogs can sail through the air and come in for a soft landing. New York Times, 26 May 2022 For many years the archetype of the spinster aunt was a fixture in literature, like the irritable Aunt March in Little Women, Agatha Christie’s creaky, clever Miss Marple, Harry Potter’s vicious Aunt Marge. Glamour, 20 May 2022 Nel and the other townswomen shun Sula, staging a rebellion against this shadowy feminine archetype. Charlie Tyson, The Atlantic, 30 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near archetype

Archetista

archetype

archeus

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Archetype.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archetype. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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