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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This could hold especially true for Black girls, whom white authority figures already tend to stereotype as masculine, according to previous research. NBC News, 1 Mar. 2022 Smith acquiesces to contemporary platitudes that stereotype the black male work ethic as churlish and autocratic, confusing those traits with strength. Armond White, National Review, 11 Feb. 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The leader of the conspiracy was Arthur Thistlewood, who fits no easy stereotype. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, 17 June 2022 Keenan wrote that the school's rationale was based on an impermissible gender stereotype. CBS News, 15 June 2022 By linking homosexuality with Nazism, Winchell drew on a popular stereotype. James Kirchick, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 Watermelon as a favorite food among Black people became a racist stereotype from the Jim Crow era, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. John Tuohy, USA TODAY, 5 June 2022 Experts attribute this issue to a lack of trust between law enforcement and immigrant populations, linguistic barriers and anti-Asian bias, such as the perpetual foreigner stereotype and the scapegoating of Asian Americans. Tat Bellamy-walker, NBC News, 3 June 2022 Moms do, of course, regularly defy this stereotype. Kate Cray, The Atlantic, 20 May 2022 This now dominant mode of Black representation focusses on outwitting stereotype, subversively borrowing from the canon of Western portraiture, and developing new techniques for expressing Black features. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 Despite its stereotype as a concrete wasteland, few large North American cities have as much biological diversity as Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of stereotype was in 1804

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Cite this Entry

“Stereotype.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 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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