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[par-uh-dahym, -dim] /ˈpær əˌdaɪm, -dɪm/
  1. a set of forms all of which contain a particular element, especially the set of all inflected forms based on a single stem or theme.
  2. a display in fixed arrangement of such a set, as boy, boy's, boys, boys'.
an example serving as a model; pattern.
  1. a framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted by members of a scientific community.
  2. such a cognitive framework shared by members of any discipline or group:
    the company’s business paradigm.
Origin of paradigm
1475-85; < Late Latin paradīgma < Greek parádeigma pattern (verbid of paradeiknýnai to show side by side), equivalent to para- para-1 + deik-, base of deiknýnai to show (see deictic) + -ma noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for paradigm
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Rapid Dominance also means looking to invest in technologies perhaps not fully or currently captured by the Cold War paradigm.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
  • These paradigm descriptions facilitate our knowing how we are with others.

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
  • The paradigm employed uses eye movement recordings and comprehension measures to study picture-text interactions.

  • Verona shall serve as the paradigm for the despotic form of government.

    A Short History of Italy Henry Dwight Sedgwick
  • The inheritance of eye color serves as a paradigm of the method of inheritance of any unit-character.

British Dictionary definitions for paradigm


(grammar) the set of all the inflected forms of a word or a systematic arrangement displaying these forms
a pattern or model
a typical or stereotypical example (esp in the phrase paradigm case)
(in the philosophy of science) a very general conception of the nature of scientific endeavour within which a given enquiry is undertaken
Derived Forms
paradigmatic (ˌpærədɪɡˈmætɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C15: via French and Latin from Greek paradeigma pattern, from paradeiknunai to compare, from para-1 + deiknunai to show
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
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Word Origin and History for paradigm

late 15c., from Late Latin paradigma "pattern, example," especially in grammar, from Greek paradeigma "pattern, model; precedent, example," from paradeiknynai "exhibit, represent," literally "show side by side," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + deiknynai "to show" (cognate with Latin dicere "to show;" see diction). Related: Paradigmatic; paradigmatical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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