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1798, "method of printing from a plate," from French stéréotype (adj.) "printing by means of a solid plate of type," from Greek stereos "solid" (see sterile) + French type "type." Noun meaning "a stereotype plate" is from 1817. Meaning "image perpetuated without change" is first recorded 1850, from the verb in this sense, which is from 1819. Meaning "preconceived and oversimplified notion of characteristics typical of a person or group" is recorded from 1922. Stereotypical is attested from 1949.
A too-simple and therefore distorted image of a group, such as “Football players are stupid” or “The English are cold and unfriendly people.”
A generalization, usually exaggerated or oversimplified and often offensive, that is used to describe or distinguish a group.
type of printing plate developed in the late 18th century and widely used in letterpress, newspaper, and other high-speed press runs. Stereotypes are made by locking the type columns, illustration plates, and advertising plates of a complete newspaper page in a form and molding a matrix, or mat, of papier-mache or similar material to it; the dried mat is used as a mold to cast the stereotype from hot metal. A stereotype plate is much stronger and more durable under the press run than would be the composed page of type. It is gradually being replaced, however, by photopolymer (photosensitive plastic) and lithographic plates.