Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[proh-tuh-tahyp] /ˈproʊ təˌtaɪp/
the original or model on which something is based or formed.
someone or something that serves to illustrate the typical qualities of a class; model; exemplar:
She is the prototype of a student activist.
something analogous to another thing of a later period:
a Renaissance prototype of our modern public housing.
Biology. an archetype; a primitive form regarded as the basis of a group.
verb (used with object), prototyped, prototyping.
to create the prototype or an experimental model of:
to prototype a solar-power car.
Origin of prototype
1595-1605; < New Latin prōtotypon < Greek prōtótypon, noun use of neuter of prōtótypos original. See proto-, type
Related forms
prototypal, prototypical
[proh-tuh-tip-i-kuh l] /ˌproʊ təˈtɪp ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
prototypic, adjective
prototypically, adverb
Can be confused
archetype, prototype.
1. pattern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for prototype
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In this father the son had both a prototype and a teacher, the mother having died early.

    On the Seaboard August Strindberg
  • Each suggests a prototype of the patented forms of the 1840's.

  • Yet it must be owned that Burns is in general Mr. Riley's prototype.

    A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye
  • I should certainly conclude that all sexuality had descended from one prototype.

  • We are reminded by the picture or statue of qualities which do not exist in it, but in its prototype in reality.

    Laurus Nobilis Vernon Lee
British Dictionary definitions for prototype


one of the first units manufactured of a product, which is tested so that the design can be changed if necessary before the product is manufactured commercially
a person or thing that serves as an example of a type
(biology) the ancestral or primitive form of a species or other group; an archetype
Derived Forms
prototypal, prototypic (ˌprəʊtəˈtɪpɪk), prototypical, adjective
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for prototype

c.1600, from French prototype (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prototypus "original, primitive," from Greek prototypon "a first or primitive form," noun use of neuter singular of prototypos "original, primitive," from protos "first" (see proto-) + typos "impression, mold, pattern" (see type (n.)). In English from 1590s as prototypon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
prototype in Medicine

prototype pro·to·type (prō'tə-tīp')
A primitive or ancestral form or species.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for prototype

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for prototype