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[mod-l] /ˈmɒd l/
a standard or example for imitation or comparison.
a representation, generally in miniature, to show the construction or appearance of something.
an image in clay, wax, or the like, to be reproduced in more durable material.
a person or thing that serves as a subject for an artist, sculptor, writer, etc.
a person whose profession is posing for artists or photographers.
a person employed to wear clothing or pose with a product for purposes of display and advertising.
a style or design of a particular product:
His car is last year's model.
a pattern or mode of structure or formation.
a typical form or style.
a simplified representation of a system or phenomenon, as in the sciences or economics, with any hypotheses required to describe the system or explain the phenomenon, often mathematically.
Zoology. an animal that is mimicked in form or color by another.
serving as an example or model:
a model home open to prospective buyers.
worthy to serve as a model; exemplary:
a model student.
being a small or miniature version of something:
He enjoyed building model ships.
verb (used with object), modeled, modeling or (especially British) modelled, modelling.
to form or plan according to a model.
to give shape or form to; fashion.
to make a miniature model of.
to fashion in clay, wax, or the like.
to simulate (a process, concept, or the operation of a system), commonly with the aid of a computer.
to display to other persons or to prospective customers, especially by wearing:
to model dresses.
to use or include as an element in a larger construct:
to model new data into the forecast.
verb (used without object), modeled, modeling or (especially British) modelled, modelling.
to make models.
to produce designs in some plastic material.
to assume a typical or natural appearance, as the parts of a drawing in progress.
to serve or be employed as a model.
Origin of model
1565-75; earlier modell < Middle French modelle < Italian modello < Vulgar Latin *modellus, equivalent to Latin mod(ulus) (see module) + -ellus -elle
Related forms
modeler; especially British, modeller, noun
premodel, verb (used without object), premodeled, premodeling or (especially British) premodelled, premodelling.
unmodeled, adjective
unmodelled, adjective
1. paragon; prototype, archetype, mold, original. See ideal. 16. design. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for model
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was, indeed, a model of a rangatira, and well worth being described.

    Old New Zealand Earl of Pembroke.
  • He would tell us the history of every design and of every model or pot in it.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • The old English model was declared obsolete, and fashion dictated that Italian villas must supersede the old houses.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • And he added the comment that the first model was as yet incomplete.

    Final Weapon Everett B. Cole
  • The first of these was, as we have seen, an essential reform at Cluny, the model for the English monastic reformers.

British Dictionary definitions for model


  1. a representation, usually on a smaller scale, of a device, structure, etc
  2. (as modifier): a model train
  1. a standard to be imitated: she was my model for good scholarship
  2. (as modifier): a model wife
a representative form, style, or pattern
a person who poses for a sculptor, painter, or photographer
a person who wears clothes to display them to prospective buyers; mannequin
a preparatory sculpture in clay, wax, etc, from which the finished work is copied
a design or style, esp one of a series of designs of a particular product: last year's model
  1. an original unique article of clothing
  2. (as modifier): a model coat
a simplified representation or description of a system or complex entity, esp one designed to facilitate calculations and predictions
  1. an interpretation of a formal system under which the theorems derivable in that system are mapped onto truths
  2. a theory in which a given sentence is true
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to make a model of (something or someone)
to form in clay, wax, etc; mould
to display (clothing and accessories) as a mannequin
to plan or create according to a model or models
to arrange studio lighting so that highlights and shadows emphasize the desired features of a human form or an inanimate object
Derived Forms
modeller, (US) modeler, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French modelle, from Italian modello, from Latin modulus, diminutive of modusmode
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for model

1570s, "likeness made to scale; architect's set of designs," from Middle French modelle (16c., Modern French modèle), from Italian modello "a model, mold," from Vulgar Latin *modellus, from Latin modulus "a small measure, standard," diminutive of modus "manner, measure" (see mode (n.1)).

Sense of "thing or person to be imitated" is 1630s. Meaning "motor vehicle of a particular design" is from 1900 (e.g. Model T, 1908; Ford's other early models included C, F, and B). Sense of "artist's model" is first recorded 1690s; that of "fashion model" is from 1904. German, Swedish modell, Dutch, Danish model are from French or Italian.


1660s, "fashion in clay or wax," from model (n.). Earlier was modelize (c.1600). From 1915 in the sense "to act as a fashion model, to display (clothes)." Related: Modeled; modeling; modelled; modelling.


1844, from model (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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model in Science
A systematic description of an object or phenomenon that shares important characteristics with the object or phenomenon. Scientific models can be material, visual, mathematical, or computational and are often used in the construction of scientific theories. See also hypothesis, theory.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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model in Technology

A Pascal-like language with extensions for large-scale system programming and interface with Fortran applications. MODEL includes generic procedures, and a "static" macro-like approach to data abstraction. It produces P-code and was used to implement the DEMOS operating system on the Cray-1.
["A Manual for the MODEL Programming Language", J.B. Morris, Los Alamos 1976].

1. A description of observed or predicted behaviour of some system, simplified by ignoring certain details. Models allow complex systems, both existent and merely specified, to be understood and their behaviour predicted. A model may give incorrect descriptions and predictions for situations outside the realm of its intended use. A model may be used as the basis for simulation.
Note: British spelling: "modelling", US: "modeling".
2. Model View Controller.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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