(redirected from archetypal)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to archetypal: Archetypal psychology


(är`kĭtīp') [Gr. arch=first, typos=mold], term whose earlier meaning, "original model," or "prototype," has been enlarged by C. G. JungJung, Carl Gustav
, 1875–1961, Swiss psychiatrist, founder of analytical psychology. The son of a country pastor, he studied at Basel (1895–1900) and Zürich (M.D., 1902).
..... Click the link for more information.
 and by several contemporary literary critics. A Jungian archetype is a thought pattern that finds worldwide parallels, either in cultures (for example, the similarity of the ritual of Holy Communion in Europe with the tecqualo in ancient Mexico) or in individuals (a child's concept of a parent as both heroic and tyrannic, superman and ogre). Jung believed that such archetypal images and ideas reside in the unconscious level of the mind of every human being and are inherited from the ancestors of the race. They form the substance of the collective unconscious. Literary critics such as Northrop FryeFrye, Northrop
, 1912–91, Canadian literary critic, b. Quebec. In 1936 he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada. In 1948 he was appointed professor of English at Victoria College, of which he was later principal (1959–66).
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Maud Bodkin use the term archetype interchangeably with the term motifmotif
, in literature, term that denotes the recurrent presence of certain character types, objects, settings, or situations in diverse genres and periods of folklore and literature.
..... Click the link for more information.
, emphasizing that the role of these elements in great works of literature is to unite readers with otherwise dispersed cultures and eras.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



concept of the original type, the prototype of the skeletal structure of all vertebrates, advanced by R. Owen (1847). The archetype theory is based on the comparison of traits common to the skeletons of various vertebrates, and it has created an abstract model, an ideal type of skeleton, which has not been completely realized by any animal, either extinct or living. This theory served as an expression of the natural philosophical school of morphology during the 18th and 19th centuries, when a reflection of general ideas was sought for in the structure of human beings and animals. Basic to the archetype is the ideal vertebrate system, consisting of eight parts (the body, the neural and hemal arches, the awned and transverse appendages, and the ribs). The entire skeleton is depicted as some kind of series of such modified vertebrae. In the skull Owen distinguished four vertebrae: the occipital, parietal, frontal, and nasal. C. Darwin reinterpreted the archetype theory; he conceived of it not as an abstract prototype but as an ancestral form which had actually existed at one time.


Owen, R. Report on the Archetype and Homologies of the Vertebrate Skeleton: Report of the 16th Meeting . . . of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. . ., 1846. London, 1847.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A hypothetical ancestral type conceptualized by eliminating all specialized character traits.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Psychoanal one of the inherited mental images postulated by Jung as the content of the collective unconscious
2. a constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature, painting, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Ramsay takes the form of the archetypal image of the Great Mother" a personification of the feminine principle with its fundamental capacity to nourish or devour.
In an essay entitled "Blake's Treatment of the Archetype," Northrop Frye is influenced in his discussion of literary archetypes by Carl Jung's theory of archetypal forms, and he clearly states his position, "Blake's analysis of the individual shows a good many parallels with more recent analyses, especially those of Freud and Jung" (67).
The first Lurianic premise is that the "feminine," wherever she be found (see Figure 1, opposite the title page of this article)--whether as male in relation to female, archetypal woman in relation to archetypal man, creation in relation to G-d--is always in motion.
The paper investigates the way in which the male body is discussed and then reflected back to the wide television audience that views this as a form of "entertainment." The types of discourse the commentators use is analysed along with the images that highlight hypermuscular ideals and reflect certain archetypal representations of the masculine male body.
Lynn, who also serves on TEI's Executive Committee, is the archetypal TEI member, someone who is continually giving back to the tax community and thereby enriching the TEI network.
There have been three archetypal Giselles of the 20th century: Olga Spessivtseva, Galina Ulanova, and Markova.
Cute kitties are not your archetypal heroes, but Blinx returns for yet more time-reversing trips through devilishly designed levels.
The satirical American cartoon, based on the archetypal dysfunctional family, has unexpectedly achieved what teachers and parents have long failed to do.
She invalidates the "archetypal Christian vehicle of female subjugation, substituting the crucifixion of Christ for the disobedience of Eve as the archetypal crime against God" (89).
Topping the list was Sazaesan, the late Machiko Hasegawa's archetypal homemaker, cited by 55.1 percent.
The idea of revisiting the archetypal naughty schoolgirls came from Rupert Everett, who wants to reprise Alastair Sim's double role as the headmistress and her roguish brother from 1954 pi "The Belles of St.
Yet he presented a new vision of humanity, reflected in his use of the term "son of the man." Jesus drew this expression from Ezekiel and used it in the same sense, as referring to an archetypal image of what it means to be human.