Definition of archetype in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈärkəˌtīp/


1A very typical example of a certain person or thing: the book is a perfect archetype of the genre
More example sentences
  • They are resentment personified, archetypes of men with grudges against the world, who - unlike Macbeth - are thereby predisposed to evil.
  • This is ultimately about simple leadership archetypes.
  • There is character development of a sort, but the Star Trek crew are more archetypes than they are people.
1.1An original that has been imitated: the archetype of faith is Abraham
More example sentences
  • Musui is the original archetype of man, modelled after the Santhal boy who was Radhakrishnan's first model at the art college in Santiniketan.
  • The music alludes to the sounds of the ancient string instrument through bold repeated chords at the outset, which are set against the antithesis of fugal imitation alluding to Bachian archetypes.
  • For Socrates the act of communication is grounded in the world of original forms, archetypes, or abstract ideas.
quintessence, essence, representative, model, embodiment, prototype, stereotype;
original, pattern, standard, paradigm
1.2A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology: mythological archetypes of good and evil
More example sentences
  • So a story contains a frame, plot, structure, one or more characters and conflict, and is also likely to contain insight and archetypes, symbols and motifs, stakes and obstacles, a premise and themes.
  • Frye's talk of literary archetypes and symbols, his penchant for diagrams that looked like astrological charts, his love of the mystic poet William Blake, all aroused McLuhan's suspicions.
  • Duncan and Jess came to artistic maturity together, ever expanding and refining a study of world literature and art focused on myths, symbols and archetypes.
1.3 Psychoanalysis (In Jungian psychology) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.
Example sentences
  • According to Carl Jung, the collective unconscious contains archetypes, universal mental predispositions not grounded in experience.
  • Essentially, the theory can be stated as a psychological law: whenever a phenomenon is found to be characteristic of all human communities, it is an expression of an archetype of the collective unconscious.
  • Avatars portray universal human themes and ideas, similar to the dreams expression of archetypes from the collective unconscious



Pronunciation: /ˌärk(ə)ˈtipik(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Unpublished letters by William Wordsworth's sister-in-law offering fresh insights into the life and times of the archetypical Lake District poet have been handed over to The Wordsworth Trust.
  • What makes it additionally interesting is that it is a very archetypical Scottish story.
  • Its style, archetypical characters and comic situations are given their full measure and mirth by the Bell Shakespeare Company, albeit with a slightly modern twist.


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek arkhetupon 'something molded first as a model', from arkhe- 'primitive' + tupos 'a model'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ar·che·type

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