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 with letters carved on them in relief. The meaning "general form or character of some kind, class" is attested in English from 1843, though it 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.
"to write with a typewriter," 1888; see type (n.). Earlier it meant "to symbolize, typify" (1836) and "to foreshadow" (1590s). Related: Typed; typing.
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