[ proh-tuh-tahyp ]
See synonyms for: prototypeprototypes on

  1. the original or model on which something is based or formed.

  2. someone or something that serves to illustrate the typical qualities of a class; model; exemplar: She is the prototype of a student activist.

  1. something analogous to another thing of a later period: a Renaissance prototype of our modern public housing.

  2. Biology. an archetype; a primitive form regarded as the basis of a group.

verb (used with object),pro·to·typed, pro·to·typ·ing.
  1. to create the prototype or an experimental model of: to prototype a solar-power car.

Origin of prototype

First recorded in 1595–1605; from New Latin prōtotypon, from Greek prōtótypon, noun use of neuter of prōtótypos “original”; see proto-, type

Other words for prototype

Other words from prototype

  • pro·to·typ·i·cal [proh-tuh-tip-i-kuhl]; /ˌproʊ təˈtɪp ɪ kəl/; pro·to·typ·ic, pro·to·typ·al [proh-tuh-tip-uhl], /ˌproʊ təˈtɪp əl/, adjective

Words that may be confused with prototype

Words Nearby prototype Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prototype in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prototype


/ (ˈprəʊtəˌtaɪp) /

  1. one of the first units manufactured of a product, which is tested so that the design can be changed if necessary before the product is manufactured commercially

  2. a person or thing that serves as an example of a type

  1. biology the ancestral or primitive form of a species or other group; an archetype

Derived forms of prototype

  • prototypal, prototypic (ˌprəʊtəˈtɪpɪk) or prototypical, adjective

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