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.

1595–1605; < Neo-Latin prōtotypon < Greek prōtótypon, noun use of neuter of prōtótypos original. See proto-, type

prototypal, prototypical [proh-tuh-tip-i-kuhl] , prototypic, adjective
prototypically, adverb

archetype, prototype.

1. pattern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prototype (ˈprəʊtəˌtaɪp)
1.  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
2.  a person or thing that serves as an example of a type
3.  biology the ancestral or primitive form of a species or other group; an archetype

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1603, from Fr. prototype, from M.L. prototypon, from Gk. prototypon "a first or primitive form," prop. neut. sing. of prototypos "original, primitive," from protos "first" + typos "impression."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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.
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Example sentences
But in a fast moving field, the museum has chosen to collect experimental
  prototypes that hold great promise for the future.
We endeavour to learn from examples such as these to base our metapsychological
  conjectures on such prototypes.
Generally speaking object selection unquestionably takes place by following
  more freely these prototypes.
Those who thrust temporal sovereignty upon her treat her as their prototypes
  treated her author.
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