prototype (for/of something) the first design of something from which other forms are copied or developed the prototype of the modern bicycle Scientists have developed a working prototype for a voice translation machine. See related entries: How machines work Word Origin late 16th cent. (denoting the original of which something else is a copy or derivative): via French or late Latin from Greek prōtotupos (see proto-, type).Extra examples The car is presently at the prototype stage. The team is developing a prototype for a digital compact camera. They created an early prototype using this software. We have a working prototype that is ready to demonstrate. He produced designs for the prototype of the modern bicycle.