Definition of paradigm in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈparədʌɪm/


1A typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model: society’s paradigm of the ‘ideal woman’
More example sentences
  • Don't get me wrong I can understand having certain rules, methodologies, standards etc, I just don't think these paradigms are a good example.
  • This present campaign is a paradigm of Washington's pattern of accusing others of doing what Washington is planning to do or has already done.
  • He says a creative leap is a new pattern, a new paradigm, a new way of organizing information and energy that has nothing to do with the previous pattern.
1.1A world view underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject: the discovery of universal gravitation became the paradigm of successful science
More example sentences
  • This clash between scientific ideas and paradigms we label science politics.
  • Deism reflected the scientific paradigm of the times in which the world inexorably and thoroughly followed strict mathematical laws of nature.
  • The ID folks are constantly telling us that evolution is failing as a scientific paradigm, and that scientists are jumping ship in droves.
2 Linguistics A set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles: English determiners form a paradigm: we can say ‘a book’ or ‘his book’ but not ‘a his book’ Often contrasted with syntagm.
More example sentences
  • In linguistics, a paradigm is a set of systematically alternating items. A paradigm is complementary to a syntagm, which is a set of items used in systematic combination.
3(In the traditional grammar of Latin, Greek, and other inflected languages) a table of all the inflected forms of a particular verb, noun, or adjective, serving as a model for other words of the same conjugation or declension.
Example sentences
  • And of course to do that, you do in fact need to learn all those paradigms of verbs and nouns, the amo, amas, amat stuff.
  • Reformers rejected the teaching of modern languages through grammatical paradigms, specimen sentences, and word lists.
  • Chinese has no case distinctions or gender distinctions in the inflectional paradigm of its third person singular pronoun.


Late 15th century: via late Latin from Greek paradeigma, from paradeiknunai 'show side by side', from para- 'beside' + deiknunai 'to show'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: para|digm

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.