[ ahr-ki-tahyp ]
See synonyms for: archetypearchetypalarchetypicalarchetypic on

  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.

Origin of archetype

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin archetypum “an original,” from Greek archétypon “a model, pattern,” neuter of archétypos “of the first mold,” equivalent to arche- + type

Other words from archetype

  • ar·che·typ·al, ar·che·typ·i·cal [ahr-ki-tip-i-kuhl], /ˌɑr kɪˈtɪp ɪ kəl/, ar·che·typ·ic, adjective
  • ar·che·typ·al·ly, ar·che·typ·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with archetype Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use archetype in a sentence

  • No longer identifying himself with material objects, he is at last in touch with the perfect and changeless archetypes.

    The Hive | Will Levington Comfort
  • One cannot go wrong in taking for granted that plant-forms were the archetypes of all these patterns.

  • Moses and the prophets were considered by the evangelists antetypes or archetypes of the coming Savior.

  • How will you give your characters real presence, an allowance to take away from them unintentional archetypes or woodiness?

    The Land of Look Behind | Paul Cameron Brown
  • He turns from science to theology, from the world of time and change to the world of archetypes or ideas.

British Dictionary definitions for archetype


/ (ˈɑːkɪˌtaɪp) /

  1. a perfect or typical specimen

  2. an original model or pattern; prototype

  1. psychoanal one of the inherited mental images postulated by Jung as the content of the collective unconscious

  2. a constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature, painting, etc

Origin of 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

Cultural definitions for archetype


[ (ahr-ki-teyep) ]

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.

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.