ste·​reo·​type | \ ˈster-ē-ə-ˌtīp How to pronounce stereotype (audio) , ˈstir- \
stereotyped; stereotyping; stereotypes

Essential Meaning of stereotype

: to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same It's not fair to stereotype a whole group of people based on one person you don't like.

Full Definition of stereotype

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a stereotype from
2a : to repeat without variation : make hackneyed
b : to develop a mental stereotype about



Definition of stereotype (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a plate cast from a printing surface
2 : something conforming to a fixed or general pattern especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

Other Words from stereotype


stereotyper noun

What is the Difference Between cliché and stereotype?

The words cliché and stereotype have a good deal in common. Both come from French, both were originally printers’ terms, and both have come to take on somewhat negative meanings in modern use.

Their original meanings are essentially synonymous, referring to printing blocks from which numerous prints could be made. In fact, cliché means stereotype in French. Their modern meanings, however, are quite distinct. Cliché is today overwhelmingly encountered in reference to something hackneyed, such as an overly familiar or commonplace phrase, theme, or expression. Stereotype is most frequently now employed to refer to an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.

Examples of stereotype in a Sentence

Verb It's not fair to stereotype a whole group of people based on one person you don't like. Movies have stereotyped the domineering mother-in-law ad nauseam. Noun the stereotype of the absentminded professor the noble savage was a stereotype that appealed to 18th-century intellectuals, who viewed European civilization as decadent and corrupt
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But labels also can be weaponized to stereotype and criticize. Mike Bass, The Enquirer, 7 Jan. 2022 Jakes, who operated stores in Atlanta from 1991 to 2016, said it’s a problem that Kempczinski felt comfortable making those remarks, which stereotype people of color. Jared Council, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 At first glance, Jo’s Modern Thai can be easy to stereotype as a dime-a-dozen Asian fusion restaurant. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Oct. 2021 Age bias and discrimination occur whenever age is used to stereotype or discriminate against others. Sheila Callaham, Forbes, 24 Oct. 2021 Yet after serving their employer for a certain period of time and advancing well in one particular environment, many may be surprised at how prospective employers and executive recruiters will stereotype them. Shuchi Sarkar, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 But it’s not just right-wing bigots who stereotype Muslims and Muslim-majority nations. Audrey Clare Farley, The New Republic, 25 Aug. 2021 Political elites deciding what these groups want or need may be more likely to stereotype them in even more problematic ways than other distant groups. David Fontana, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2021 An Atlanta branch of IKEA announced to staff that the store would incorporate a holiday menu, which featured food that has been used historically to stereotype Black culture and people. Vanessa Etienne,, 23 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Avoiding the pitfalls of stereotype were at the forefront of the core team’s considerations. Zoe Hewitt, Variety, 10 Jan. 2022 Vegan food can often suffer from less than careful adaptation, but Molinaro’s food is determinedly defiant of that stereotype. Lizzy Saxe, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 These vineyards dispense of the stereotype of a dense, jammy California Zinfandel. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 30 Aug. 2021 Though many came to Lizzo’s defence and also explained the tweeter’s misuse and misunderstanding of the stereotype, Lizzo clapped back herself on TikTok. Brooke Obie,, 17 Aug. 2021 And indeed, American optimism has become something of a cultural stereotype. Kweilin Ellingrud, Star Tribune, 15 July 2021 Critics said Nelson made use of a stereotype that characterizes Black men and women as hostile and overly aggressive. Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN, 4 Apr. 2021 Women in every sort of extreme stereotype: Women are harpies, women are ball breakers, women just want to take power away from men, women are sluts. Alexa Mikhail, USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2021 When some eventually did, their success stories led to an enduring stereotype. CBS News, 1 Aug. 2021

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


1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stereotype


French stéréotype, from stéré- stere- + type

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Time Traveler for stereotype

Time Traveler

The first known use of stereotype was in 1804

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stereotype.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for stereotype


ste·​reo·​type | \ ˈster-ē-ə-ˌtīp How to pronounce stereotype (audio) , ˈstir- \

Kids Definition of stereotype

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a fixed idea that many people have about a thing or a group that may often be untrue or only partly true


stereotyped; stereotyping

Kids Definition of stereotype (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a fixed and often untrue or only partly true idea about It's unfair to stereotype people according to where they live.


ste·​reo·​type | \ ˈster-ē-ə-ˌtīp How to pronounce stereotype (audio) , ˈstir- How to pronounce stereotype (audio) \

Medical Definition of stereotype

: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern especially : an often oversimplified or biased mental picture held to characterize the typical individual of a group

Other Words from stereotype

stereotype transitive verb stereotyped; stereotyping

More from Merriam-Webster on stereotype

Nglish: Translation of stereotype for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stereotype for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stereotype


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