• synonyms


  1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
  2. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.
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Origin of archetype

1595–1605; < Latin archetypum an original < Greek archétypon a model, pattern (neuter of archétypos of the first mold, equivalent to arche- arche- + týp(os) mold, type + -os adj. suffix)
Related formsar·che·typ·al, ar·che·typ·i·cal [ahr-ki-tip-i-kuh l] /ˌɑr kɪˈtɪp ɪ kəl/, ar·che·typ·ic, adjectivear·che·typ·al·ly, ar·che·typ·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedarchetype prototype
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for archetypes

paradigm, form, pattern, standard, ideal, model, prototype, original

Examples from the Web for archetypes

Contemporary Examples of archetypes

Historical Examples of archetypes

  • They are transcripts, types—the archetypes are in us, and eternal.

    Human Animals

    Frank Hamel

  • Theocritus and Virgil have furnished the archetypes for our eclogues and pastorals.

    Ephemera Critica

    John Churton Collins

  • Longhi speaks of him as "most unfaithful to his archetypes," and, "whatever the originals, being always Bartolozzi."

  • The Greek anthology and Martial have furnished the archetypes of our epigrams and of our epitaphs.

    Ephemera Critica

    John Churton Collins

  • To say that the Universals are archetypes, and that Particulars partake in them, is unmeaning, and mere poetic metaphor.


    George Grote

British Dictionary definitions for archetypes


  1. a perfect or typical specimen
  2. an original model or pattern; prototype
  3. psychoanal one of the inherited mental images postulated by Jung as the content of the collective unconscious
  4. a constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature, painting, etc
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Word Origin for archetype

C17: from Latin archetypum an original, from Greek arkhetupon, from arkhetupos first-moulded; see arch-, type
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

Word Origin and History for archetypes



"original pattern from which copies are made," 1540s, from Latin archetypum, from Greek arkhetypon "pattern, model, figure on a seal," neuter of adjective arkhetypos "first-moulded," from arkhe- "first" (see archon) + typos "model, type, blow, mark of a blow" (see type). Jungian psychology sense of "pervasive idea or image from the collective unconscious" is from 1919.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

archetypes in Medicine


  1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned.
  2. In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic image that is derived from the past collective experience of humanity and is present in the unconscious of the individual.imago
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Related formsar′che•typal (-tīpəl) null null adj.ar′che•typi•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

archetypes in Culture



An original model after which other similar things are patterned. In the psychology of Carl Jung, archetypes are the images, patterns, and symbols (see also symbol) that rise out of the collective unconscious and appear in dreams, mythology, and fairy tales.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.