Paradigm Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Wondering about the meaning of paradigm? You’re in the right place! Read on to discover the term’s definition, origin, and more.

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When it comes to the English language, there are a ton of fancy-schmancy-sounding words — and the term “paradigm” is one of them. Have you ever heard this word and wondered what it meant? If so, you’re in the right place!

In this post, we’re exploring the word paradigm to uncover its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and related words. 

We’ll also go over some examples to help you feel comfortable using paradigm in a sentence. 

If you’re ready to discover all there is to know about the word paradigm, keep reading! 

What Is the Definition of Paradigm?

The noun paradigm can be a bit confusing to understand, so let’s take a look at a few definitions provided by three trusted dictionaries:

  • The Collins Dictionary says a paradigm is a model for something that explains it or shows how it can be produced. 
  • According to, the term paradigm can be defined as a set of concepts, values, assumptions, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them — especially in an intellectual discipline. 
  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines paradigm as a model of something or a very clear and typical example of something. 

Although each definition varies slightly, we can conclude that the term paradigm is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas. In other words, it’s a way of looking at something. 

What Is the Origin of Paradigm?

According to the Macmillan Dictionary, paradigm derives from Greek and Latin and has been in use since the 15th century.  

In Greek, the words para meaning “beside” and deiknynai meaning “to show or display” were combined to form the term paradeiknyai, which possessed the meaning “to display side by side.”

Late Latin paradigma was commonly used to refer to “a pattern or model,” which is still one of the formal meanings of the term paradigm.

What Are Synonyms and Antonyms of Paradigm?

When looking to expand your knowledge of a word, it can be helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms from a trusty thesaurus.

In short, synonyms are words or phrases that have the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. Antonyms are words or phrases that have the opposite meaning of another word.  

Synonyms of paradigm include:

  • Model
  • Pattern
  • Example
  • Standard
  • Prototype
  • Archetype
  • Ideal
  • Gauge
  • Criterion
  • Paragon
  • Worldview
  • Exemplar
  • Norm
  • Strategy
  • Concept
  • Chart
  • Inflexion
  • Mirror
  • Original
  • Sample

Antonyms of paradigm include:

  • Disrespect
  • Disesteem
  • Unworthy
  • Expand
  • Increase
  • Decentralize
  • Diverge
  • Misconception
  • Inelegance
  • Untypical
  • Atypical

Related Words

In addition to learning the synonyms and antonyms, discovering related words can also help strengthen your understanding of the word paradigm. 

Some of the most common related words that you should know include:

  • Paradigmatic — In linguistics, paradigmatic pertains to a relationship among elements that can substitute for each other in a given context.
  • Paradigm shift — This refers to a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.  
  • Psychoanalysis — This can be defined as a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental disorders by investing the interaction of unconscious and conscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears into the conscious mind through techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.

Examples of Paradigm Used in a Sentence

Now that you understand what the term paradigm means, it’s time to practice using this word of the day in a sentence. Quiz yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with using the word paradigm, or feel free to check out our example sentences below:

Beautiful, brilliant, and kind, Sarah is the paradigm of the perfect woman.

Because Dr. Michaels has worked in the field of physics for such a long time, he was able to create a visual paradigm of Dr. Mark’s theory.

If you were more than a couple of years out of college in 1975, then you likely belonged to the old paradigm.

My math teacher showed us the different types of angels a triangle may have by using a bendable paradigm.

When it boils down to the corporate world, Jeannie is a paradigm of honor.

Joe’s ruthless accumulation of wealth stands as a paradigm of greed in his industry.


In one easy-to-understand nutshell, a paradigm is simply a standard, perspective, or set of ideas — basically, it’s a way of looking at something.  

With that in mind, you may have seen the word paradigm pop up in the academic, scientific, and business realms. A new paradigm in business could refer to a new way of reaching potential customers and increasing profit. 

In education, relying on solo study is a paradigm. If you suddenly shifted to all group work, that would be a new paradigm. You see, when you change paradigms, you’re changing how you think about something or the way you look at something. 

If you want to keep adding words to your vocab today, explore our website where you’ll find great grammar tips, awesome tools, and more. 


  1. What is a paradigm? | Macmillan Dictionary 
  2. PARADIGM : definition in | Cambridge English Dictionary
  3. Definitions of Paradigm | Your Dictionary
  4. Paradigm definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary