noun par·a·digm \ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\

Definition of paradigm

  1. 1 :  example, pattern; especially :  an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype … regard science as the paradigm of true knowledge. — G. C. J. Midgley

  2. 2 :  an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms

  3. 3 :  a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis; broadly :  a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind


play \ˌper-ə-dig-ˈma-tik, ˌpa-rə-\ adjective


play \ˌper-ə-dig-ˈma-ti-k(ə-)lē, ˌpa-rə-\ adverb

Examples of paradigm in a sentence

  1. And the paradigm of a thing to be philosophical about is death. —Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009

  2. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of energy independence—namely, that energy isn't a zero-sum game anymore. —Paul Roberts, Mother Jones, May/June 2008

  3. That the biomedical paradigm of single cause and single disease was a chimera was well understood by even its most vigorous advocates. —Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007

  4. Her recent book provides us with a new paradigm for modern biography.

  5. the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis

  6. a new study that challenges the current evolutionary paradigm

Recent Examples of paradigm from the web

These example sentences are collected from online sources. Help us improve them by sending feedback.

Origin and Etymology of paradigm

Late Latin paradigma, from Greek paradeigma, from paradeiknynai to show side by side, from para- + deiknynai to show — more at diction

First Known Use: 15th century

PARADIGM Defined for English Language Learners


noun par·a·digm \ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\

Definition of paradigm for English Language Learners

  • : a model or pattern for something that may be copied

  • : a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about

Learn More about paradigm

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up paradigm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


quaintly unconventional or refined

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • ludwig-richter-spring-has-arrived
  • Which is a synonym of upbraid?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.