An example or model of a person, thing, or idea, often grossly oversimplified, as in the case of a stereotype. Often found in folklore or fairy tales. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung used archetypes to analyze the personalities of his patients.
Example: Many popular fairy tales involve a struggle between a charming, beautiful heroine and her wicked stepmother.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Oct 2008