noun pro·to·type \ˈprō-tə-ˌtīp\

Definition of prototype

  1. 1 :  an original model on which something is patterned :  archetype

  2. 2 :  an individual that exhibits the essential features of a later type

  3. 3 :  a standard or typical example

  4. 4 :  a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction (such as an airplane)

prototype was our Word of the Day on 11/07/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of prototype in a sentence

  1. They tested the prototype of the car.

  2. He is developing a prototype for his invention.

  3. He is the prototype of a conservative businessman.

  4. The Sherlock Holmes stories are the prototypes of modern detective stories.

Recent Examples of prototype from the web

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Did You Know?

The prefix prot-, or proto-, comes from Greek and has the basic meaning "first in time" or "first formed." A prototype is someone or something that serves as a model or inspiration for those that come later. A successful fund-raising campaign can serve as a prototype for future campaigns. The legendary Robin Hood, the "prototypical" kindhearted and honorable outlaw, has been the inspiration for countless other romantic heroes. And for over a century, Vincent van Gogh has been the prototype of the brilliant, tortured artist who is unappreciated in his own time.

Origin and Etymology of prototype

French, from Greek prōtotypon, from neuter of prōtotypos archetypal, from prōt- + typos type

First Known Use: 1552

PROTOTYPE Defined for English Language Learners


noun pro·to·type \ˈprō-tə-ˌtīp\

Definition of prototype for English Language Learners

  • : an original or first model of something from which other forms are copied or developed

  • : someone or something that has the typical qualities of a particular group, kind, etc.

  • : a first or early example that is used as a model for what comes later

Seen and Heard

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


feeling or affected by lethargy

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