1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: "'Frankenstein' ... 'Dracula' ... 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' ... the archetypes that have influenced all subsequent horror stories" (New York Times).
2. An ideal example of a type; quintessence: an archetype of the successful entrepreneur.
3. In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.
[Latin archetypum, from Greek arkhetupon, from neuter of arkhetupos, original : arkhe-, arkhi-, archi- + tupos, model, stamp.]
ar′che·typal (-tīpəl), ar′che·typic (-tĭpĭk), ar′che·typi·cal adj.
Usage Note: The ch in archetype, and in many other English words of Greek origin such as architect and chorus, represents a transliteration of Greek X (chi), and its standard pronunciation is (k). The pronunciation of ch in these words as (ch) is generally considered incorrect. Notable exceptions in which the ch is in fact pronounced (ch) include words formed by adding the prefix arch- to an existing English word, as in archenemy or archrival, and also words such as archbishop and archdeacon that date back to Old English, having been borrowed directly from Late Latin and Late Greek.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.