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(pronounced ahr-kih-typ-ul)  adjectiv


from the noun archetype.

Archetype (pronounced ahr-kih-typ) 1. the original pattern or model from which all other things of the same kind are made or copied; prototype. 2. a perfect example of a type; the pure and concentrated essence of something.

(Helpful tip: another adjective form is archetypical. Its meaning is identical to that of archetypal, but its use in conversation is much less frequent.)

Main Example

  • The late Katharine Graham has once again been in the news, thanks to preeminent actress Meryl Streep depicting the former publisher of The Washington Post in the recent and highly acclaimed movie “The Post.” Leading journalists have described Ms. Graham as a perfect role model for owners of newspapers, magazines, and broadcast stations. They have called her the archetypal media-company owner who does not focus solely on profit and loss, but who puts journalistic integrity ahead of financial considerations.

Workplace Examples

  • Tim’s brochure is pretty good, but I’ll bet the old-timers will compare it to the one Greg designed seven or eight years ago. That one remains the archetype and is used as the standard by which all others are measured.
  • There is never a time when Courtney is not burdened about something or another. She is the archetypal worrier.

Other Examples

  • the archetypal Marine in the opinion of most Americans: tough, daring, high-energy, and very patriotic
  • Richard Nixon being described by presidential historians as the archetype of one who never gives up, someone who overcomes adversity again and again through sheer persistence; Barack Obama, who was raised poor and by a single mother, and who became the first African-American to occupy the White House, being described by many as the archetype of the American dream; film critics regarding "Nosferatu" (1928) and "The Horror of Dracula" (1958, with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing) as the archetypes of all Dracula movies and also the best of the entire crop
  • some American archetypes: McDonald’s, Barbie, baseball, football, a great mistrust of government and, more recently, gas-guzzling SUVs
  • Mozart, the archetypal child prodigy
  • The famous photographer Carl Mydans, who died in 2004 at the age of 97, captured some of the archetypal images of America’s triumph during WWII--pictures that we have all seen at one time or another--including that of Gen. Douglas MacArthur wading ashore upon his return to the Philippines in 1944, and the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in 1945.

© 2018 V.J. Singal
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