Word of the Day – Archetype

Word of the Day : March 11, 2022


noun AHR-kih-type

What It Means

An archetype is someone or something that is seen to be a perfect example. It is also a word for the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies.

// The young business owner is the archetype of the successful entrepreneur.

// The film is a sci-fi archetype.

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ARCHETYPE in Context

“The contemporary fantasy genre owes its existence to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ In it, Tolkien consolidated and popularized the various fantastical archetypes—like elves, dwarves, and the dark lord—that have since ingrained themselves into humanity’s collective cultural psyche.” — Yifei Cheng, The Student Life (Pomona College), 24 Feb. 2022

Did You Know?

Archetype comes from the Greek verb archein (“to begin” or “to rule”) and the noun typos (“type”). Archetype has specific uses in the fields of philosophy and psychology. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, for example, believed that all things have ideal forms (aka archetypes) of which real things are merely shadows or copies. And in the psychology of C. G. Jung, archetype refers to an inherited idea or mode of thought that is present in the unconscious of the individual. In everyday prose, however, archetype is most commonly used to mean “a perfect example of something.”