Definition of prototype in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprōdəˌtīp/


1A first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied: the firm is testing a prototype of the weapon the prototype of all careerists is Judas
More example sentences
  • One big drawback: the prototype emission control device they tested cost thousands of dollars.
  • This device, at the prototype stage, is expected to cost $20 and act as a Web access device.
  • By late 1937 he had designed, built and successfully tested both a semiauto rifle and a prototype light machine gun.
1.1The archetypal example of a class of living organisms, astronomical objects, or other items: these objects are the prototypes of a category of rapidly spinning neutron stars
More example sentences
  • There are various explanatory reasons, so obvious in hindsight that their suppression must be regarded as an original prototype of political correctness.
  • The Gaelscoil building will be a pilot project to the latest specifications with the eventual design to be used as a prototype for the design of schools of its size nationally.
  • The earlier, topic-based discussion attempts to establish a taxonomy of structural prototypes and gestural categories, from which follow readings of a group of works.
original, first example/model, master, mold, template, framework, mock-up, pattern, sample;
design, guide, blueprint
1.2 Electronics A basic filter network with specified cutoff frequencies, from which other networks may be derived to obtain sharper cutoffs, constancy of characteristic impedance with frequency, etc.


[with object]
Make a prototype of (a product).
Example sentences
  • We are exploring the technology and prototyping the radio systems we are inventing.
  • A word of caution is necessary with regard to prototyping - prototyping everything that is unknown or fuzzy can be impossible or prohibitively expensive.
  • Next game, we will focus more on prototyping gameplay earlier and worrying less about the graphics since we are now confident we can do a good job of it.



Pronunciation: /ˌprōtəˈtīpəl/
Example sentences
  • Their unitards had panels of material attached to them, like vestigial or prototypal skirts, sleeves, aprons.


Pronunciation: /ˌprōtəˈtipik/
Example sentences
  • The Barbican kitchen is a prototypic solution to a problem formulated by a designer.
  • They show that, as early as 1938, he had begun a deliberate attempt to subject another multiple allelic series to a recombination analysis, namely that of bithorax, whose prototypic allele, bx, he had discovered in 1915.
  • These books transmit the disturbing concept that there is a ‘normal’ or prototypic, standard anatomy and disregard, in most cases, the more important clinically useful anatomy.


Late 16th century (denoting the original of which something else is a copy or derivative): via French or late Latin from Greek prōtotupos (see proto-, type).

  • first from Old English:

    The Old English word first goes back to an ancient root which is shared by Latin primus (as in prime), and Greek prōtos (as in protein (mid 19th century) and prototype (mid 16th century)). The expression first come, first served goes back to the Middle Ages and is found in the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. It was originally used in the context of milling, when a mill would serve the whole community. The first person to bring their corn to the mill would be the first person to have it ground. The first among equals is the member of a group that has the highest status. It is a translation of the Latin phrase primus inter pares, which was used as a title by Roman emperors. Many will know it today as the title of a Jeffrey Archer novel published in 1984. In Scotland to first-foot (early 19th century) is to be the first person to cross the threshold of a house in the New Year. Traditionally, it is thought lucky for that person to be a dark-haired man.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·to·type

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