Word of the Day : January 6, 2019


noun PAIR-uh-dyme


1 : example, pattern; especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype

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; broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind

Did You Know?

Paradigm traces to a Greek verb meaning "to show," and has been used in English to mean "example" or "pattern" since the 15th century. Some debate exists, however, about what kind of example qualifies as a paradigm. Some people say it's a typical example, while others insist it must be an outstanding or perfect example. The scientific community has added to the confusion by using it to mean "a theoretical framework," a sense popularized by American scientist Thomas S. Kuhn in the second edition of his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published in 1970. In that work, Kuhn admitted that he had used paradigm in 22 different ways. Some usage commentators now advise avoiding the term entirely on the grounds that it is overused.


"I was just obsessed as a kid with David and Goliath. It's probably the ultimate conflict paradigm in literature. But I was always on the side of Goliath. I loved Goliath. I didn't like David at all and I wished Goliath could win." — Lee Child, quoted in The Spectator, 1 Dec. 2018

"Phoebe has a talent for taking a musical or poetic paradigm and tilting it, inverting the norm in a way that expands and challenges the boundaries of the standard. Her songs marry convention with experimentation, both with a musical arrangement and production, and in the actual poetry of the songs." — Julien Baker, quoted in New York Magazine, 26 Oct. 2018

Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of paradigm: e _ _ mp _ _ r.



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