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Borrowed from French stéréotype. Printing sense is from 1817, the “conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image” sense is recorded from 1922 in Walter Lippmann's book Public Opinion.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈstɛ.ɹi.əˌtaɪp/, /ˈstɪə.ɹi.əˌtaɪp/
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stereotype (countable and uncountable, plural stereotypes)

  1. A conventional, formulaic, and often oversimplified or exaggerated conception, opinion, or image of (a person).
    Synonyms: cliché, platitude
  2. (psychology) A person who is regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type.
  3. (printing) A metal printing plate cast from a matrix moulded from a raised printing surface.
    Synonym: cliché
  4. (software engineering) An extensibility mechanism of the Unified Modeling Language, allowing a new element to be derived from an existing one with added specializations.

Derived terms[edit]



stereotype (third-person singular simple present stereotypes, present participle stereotyping, simple past and past participle stereotyped)

  1. (transitive) To make a stereotype of someone or something, or characterize someone by a stereotype.
    • 1957, Karl Popper, chapter 24, in The Poverty of Historicism, FIRST HARPER TORCH BOOK edition, page 90:
      Unable to ascertain what is in the minds of so many individuals, he must try to simplify his problems by eliminating individual differences: he must try to control and stereotype interests and beliefs by education and propaganda.
  2. (transitive, printing) To prepare for printing in stereotype; to produce stereotype plates of.
    to stereotype the Bible
  3. (transitive, printing) To print from a stereotype.
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To make firm or permanent; to fix.



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “stereotype”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, retrieved 12 November 2020.




  1. absolute definite natural masculine singular of stereotyp.