noun par·a·digm \ ˈper-ə-ˌdīm , ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim \
Updated on: 21 Feb 2018

Definition of paradigm

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 : an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms
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 HoltNew York Times Book Review15 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 RobertsMother JonesMay/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. BrandtThe Cigarette Century2007
  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 selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paradigm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us 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

PARADIGM Defined for English Language Learners



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

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having a quality expressive of sadness

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