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Definition of "archetype" [ar•che•type]

  • An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: "'Frankenstein' . . . 'Dracula' . . . 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' . . . the archetypes that have influenced all subsequent horror stories” ( New York Times). (noun)
  • An ideal example of a type; quintessence: an archetype of the successful entrepreneur. (noun)
  • In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "archetype" in a sentence
  • "Instead he views the type as what he calls the archetype of the kind, defined as something that models all the tokens of a kind with respect to projectible questions but not something that admits of answers to individuating questions."
  • "So, I agree – Palin undoubtedly appeals to the core values – she's simply the same version of that archetype from the south and midwest, except she has a somewhat different accent. gl, From Pittsburgh"
  • "We have always loved that archetype, and this archetype is replete throughout American fiction."