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See also: archétype



From Old French architipe (modern French archétype), from Latin archetypum (original), from Ancient Greek ἀρχέτυπον (arkhétupon, model, pattern), the neuter form of ἀρχέτυπος (arkhétupos, first-moulded), from ἀρχή (arkhḗ, beginning, origin) (from ἄρχω (árkhō, to begin; to lead, rule), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ergʰ- (to begin; to command, rule)) + τῠ́πος (túpos, blow, pressing; sort, type) (from τύπτω (túptō, to beat, strike), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)tewp- (to push; to stick)).



archetype (plural archetypes)

  1. An original model of which all other similar concepts, objects, or persons are merely copied, derivative, emulated, or patterned; a prototype. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1658, Thomas Browne, “The Garden of Cyrus. []. Chapter V.”, in Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall, [] Together with The Garden of Cyrus, [], London: Printed for Hen[ry] Brome [], OCLC 48702491; reprinted as Hydriotaphia (The English Replicas), New York, N.Y.: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1927, OCLC 78413388, page 192:
      According to that Cabaliſticall Dogma: If Abram had not had this Letter [i.e., ה (he)] added unto his Name he had remained fruitleſſe, and without the power of generation: [] So that being ſterill before, he received the power of generation from that meaſure and manſion in the Archetype; and was made conformable unto Binah.
  2. An ideal example of something; a quintessence.
    • 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “The Simpsons (Classic): “New Kid On The Block” (season 4, episode 8; originally aired 11/12/1992)”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 31 May 2012:
      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.
  3. (literature) A character, object, or story that is based on a known character, object, or story.
  4. (psychology) According to 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 (original manuscript of a text from which all further copies derive).

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.


Derived terms[edit]


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 an object or subject with an archetype.
    • 2003 October 31, Clyde Haberman, “NYC; not poifect, dem movies Of Brooklyn”, in The New York Times[2], archived from the original on 28 December 2017:
      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."


Further reading[edit]




  1. vocative masculine singular of archetypus