Words related to stereotype


before vowels stere-, word-forming element meaning "solid, firm; three-dimensional; stereophonic," from Greek stereos "solid" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff").

type (n.)

late 15c., "symbol, emblem," from Latin typus "figure, image, form, kind," from Greek typos "a blow, dent, impression, mark, effect of a blow; figure in relief, image, statue; anything wrought of metal or stone; general form, character; outline, sketch," from root of typtein "to strike, beat," from PIE *tup-, variant of root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat" (see steep (adj.)).

Extended 1713 to printing blocks of metal or wood with letters or characters carved on their faces, usually in relief, adapted for use in letterpress printing. The meaning "general form or character of some kind, class" is attested in English by 1843, though the corresponding words had that sense in Latin and Greek. To be (someone's) type "be the sort of person that person is attracted to" is recorded from 1934.

stereotyping (n.)

1807, verbal noun from stereotype (v.). Figurative sense from 1888.

cliche (n.)

1825, "electrotype, stereotype," from French cliché, a technical word in printer's jargon for "stereotype block," noun use of past participle of clicher "to click" (18c.), supposedly echoic of the sound of a mold striking metal (compare native click).

Originally, a cast obtained by letting a matrix fall face downward upon a surface of molten metal on the point of cooling, called in English type-foundries 'dabbing.' [OED]

Figurative extension to "trite phrase, worn-out expression" is first attested 1888, via the notion of the metal plate from which a print or design could be reproduced endlessly without variety, paralleling the sense evolution of stereotype. But this sense was not common in English until the 1920s, when it was identified as a French idiom. Related: Cliched (1928).


1823 as a shortening of stereotype (n.); 1876 as a shortening of stereoscope; 1954 as a shortening of stereophonic (adj.); the noun meaning "stereophonic record or tape player" is recorded from 1964.

stereotypical (adj.)

1949, in the figurative sense, from stereotype (n.) + -ical. Stereotypic is from 1801 in the literal sense.