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definition of the word archetype

by the Wiktionnary

from Latin archetypum, from Greek αρχέτυπον arkhetypon "pattern, model" neut. of adj. αρχέτυπος arkhetypos "first-moulded", from αρχή- arkhe- "first" + τύπος typos "model, type, blow, mark of a blow".



archetype (plural archetypes)

  1. An original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated; a prototype
  2. (usage conflict) A person, story, concept, or object that is based on a known archetype; an archetypal character.
  3. An ideal example of something; a quintessence.
  4. (psychology) According to the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, a universal pattern of thought, present in an individual's unconscious, inherited from the past collective experience of humanity.

Traditionally archetype refers to the model upon which something is based, but it has also come to mean an example of a personality archetype, particularly a fictional character in a story based on a well-established personality model. In this fashion, a character based on the Jesus archetype might be referred to as a "Jesus archetype". See eponym for a similar usage conflict.

Definition from Wiktionary
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