prototype

noun
pro·​to·​type | \ ˈprō-tə-ˌtīp How to pronounce prototype (audio) \

Definition of prototype

1 : an original model on which something is patterned : archetype
2 : an individual that exhibits the essential features of a later type
3 : a standard or typical example
4 : a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction (such as an airplane)

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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.

Examples of prototype in a Sentence

They tested the prototype of the car. He is developing a prototype for his invention. He is the prototype of a conservative businessman. The Sherlock Holmes stories are the prototypes of modern detective stories.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Built for a family of modest means, its budget further restricted by the Depression, this house served as a prototype for detached single-family suburban houses that proliferated after World War II. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including Chicago’s Robie House and Oak Park’s Unity Temple, named to World Heritage List," 7 July 2019 Brown and the Driveline founder Kyle Boddy are friends, and in 2016 Boddy urged Brown to test a pitching data prototype from Rapsodo, then a tech start-up. Pat Borzi, New York Times, "‘If You Don’t Have It, You’re Behind’: College Baseball’s Tech Arms Race," 25 June 2019 The Boxster Bergspyder is a one-off prototype created in 2015 that Porsche is now showing for the first time. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The Porsche Boxster Bergspyder Is an Awesome One-Seater That Was Almost Built for Real," 3 June 2019 By recasting Ivan’s brutality as a prerequisite for progress, the tsar’s proponents have molded him into a prototype for contemporary Russian autocracy. Noah Sneider, Harper's magazine, "Slash Fictions," 10 May 2019 After creating a few prototypes and running a couple tests, the EggMazing Egg Decorator was born. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "This Spinning Egg Decorator Will Change Your Easter Game This Year," 13 Mar. 2019 The plan also calls for a 400-meter (1,212-foot) track for testing hyperloop prototypes. Sonja Peteranderl, The Verge, "Bavaria’s space program shot to viral fame — but it may be in trouble," 20 Oct. 2018 About 50 users are testing a prototype as the team gathers feedback and develops the app based on the suggestions and needs. Nancy Dahlberg, miamiherald, "Not every athlete can afford a top trainer. That's where VDrill comes in. | Miami Herald," 3 May 2018 To address early concerns, Eagleman’s team is currently in the process of testing VEST prototypes on deaf individuals. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Could This Futuristic Vest Give Us a Sixth Sense?," 21 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prototype.' 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 prototype

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prototype

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

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Statistics for prototype

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prototype

The first known use of prototype was in 1552

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More Definitions for prototype

prototype

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prototype

: 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

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