from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An original type, form, or instance serving as a basis or standard for later stages.
  • n. An original, full-scale, and usually working model of a new product or new version of an existing product.
  • n. An early, typical example.
  • n. Biology A form or species that serves as an original type or example.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An original object or form which is a basis for other objects, forms, or for its models and generalizations
  • n. An early sample or model built to test a concept or process
  • n. An instance of a category or a concept that combines its most representative attributes.
  • n. A declaration of a function that specifies the name, return type, and parameters but none of the body, or actual code.
  • v. To create a prototype of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An original or model after which anything is copied; the pattern of anything to be engraved, or otherwise copied, cast, or the like; a primary form; exemplar; archetype.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A primitive form; an original or model after which anything is formed; the pattern of anything to be engraved, cast, etc.; an exemplar; an archetype; especially, in metrology, an original standard, to which others must conform, and which, though it may be imitated from something else, is not required to conform to anything else, but itself serves as the ultimate definition of a unit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a standard or typical example


French, from Greek prōtotupon, from neuter of prōtotupos, original : prōto-, proto- + tupos, model.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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