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See also: archétype


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From Old French architipe (French archétype), from Latin archetypum, from Ancient Greek ἀρχέτυπον (arkhétupon, pattern, model) neuter of ἀρχέτυπος (arkhétupos, first-moulded), from ἀρχή (arkhḗ, first, origin) + τύπος (túpos, sort, type, press).



archetype (plural archetypes)

  1. An original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated; a prototype.
  2. (literature) A character, story, or object that is based on a known character, story, or object.
  3. An ideal example of something; a quintessence.
    • 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “New Kid On The Block” (season 4, episode 8; originally aired 11/12/1992)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      “New Kid On The Block” doubles as a terrific showcase for the Sea Captain who, in the grand tradition of Simpsons supporting characters, quickly goes from being a stereotype to an archetype, from being a crusty sea-captain character to the crusty sea-captain character.
  4. (psychology) According to the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, a universal pattern of thought, present in an individual's unconscious, inherited from the past collective experience of humanity.
  5. (textual criticism) A protograph.

Usage notes[edit]

Traditionally archetype refers to the model upon which something is based, but it has also come to mean an example of a personality archetype, particularly a fictional character in a story based on a well-established personality model. In this fashion, a character based on the Jesus archetype might be referred to as a "Jesus archetype". See eponym for a similar usage conflict.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


archetype (third-person singular simple present archetypes, present participle archetyping, simple past and past participle archetyped)

  1. To depict as, model using or otherwise associate a subject or object with an archetype.
    • 2003 October 31, Clyde Haberman, “NYC; Not Poifect, Dem Movies Of Brooklyn”, in New York Times[2]:
      His collaborator was Robert Singer, a professor of English and film studies at Kingsborough Community College, who lamented this week that he and his fellow Brooklynites "have been archetyped to death."




  1. vocative masculine singular of archetypus