par·​a·​digm | \ ˈper-ə-ˌdīm How to pronounce paradigm (audio) , ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim \

Essential Meaning of paradigm

1 : a model or pattern for something that may be copied Her recent book provides us with a new paradigm for modern biography.
2 : a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis a new study that challenges the current evolutionary paradigm

Full Definition of paradigm

1 : example, pattern especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype … regard science as the paradigm of true knowledge. — G. C. J. Midgley
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 the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind

Other Words from paradigm

paradigmatic \ ˌper-​ə-​dig-​ˈma-​tik How to pronounce paradigm (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adjective
paradigmatically \ ˌper-​ə-​dig-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce paradigm (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adverb

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.

Examples of paradigm in a Sentence

And the paradigm of a thing to be philosophical about is death. — Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009 Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of energy independence—namely, that energy isn't a zero-sum game anymore. — Paul Roberts, Mother Jones, May/June 2008 That the biomedical paradigm of single cause and single disease was a chimera was well understood by even its most vigorous advocates. — Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007 Her recent book provides us with a new paradigm for modern biography. the Freudian paradigm of psychoanalysis a new study that challenges the current evolutionary paradigm
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Recent Examples on the Web Moving from massive, on-prem data centers to the cloud presents a future filled with possibilities but also a level of risk due to the various unknowns within this significant paradigm shift. Derek Swanson, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Still, if nothing else, the go-ahead from the continent's top bureaucracy is a symbolic endorsement of the potential of hybrid wines, and an acknowledgement that climate change will require a major paradigm shift in global winemaking. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Dec. 2021 That forced a paradigm shift in the health care industry, which had a cultural clash with the tech industry’s move-fast-and-break-things ethos. Dan Catchpole, Fortune, 2 Dec. 2021 Two decades or so downstream from the political and historical paradigm shift of the 1960s, that began to change. New York Times, 9 Nov. 2021 The adoption of this new technology is creating a paradigm shift in how money flows through the entertainment industry’s ecosystem. Solo Ceesay, Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2021 Elliot shared my feeling that human composting’s greater promise is its potential to occasion a paradigm shift in our relationship to all life. Lisa Wells, Harper's Magazine, 28 Sep. 2021 Virtual-first providers like Workit and Bicycle Health are working to invert this paradigm by bringing equitable, personal addiction treatment to areas currently underserved by providers. Jonathan Bush, STAT, 10 Dec. 2021 The employers who succeed will do so by innovating within this new paradigm — not by trying to will the old one back into existence. Gil Becker, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paradigm

Late Latin paradigma, from Greek paradeigma, from paradeiknynai to show side by side, from para- + deiknynai to show — more at diction

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The first known use of paradigm was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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