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Stereotype refers to the attributes that people think characterize a group. The belief in these attributes can be the basis for fear, discrimination and ostracizing of others.
The term stereotype derives from the Greek words στερεός (stereos), "firm, solid" and τύπος (typos), "impression," hence "solid impression".
The term comes from the printing trade and was first adopted in 1798 by Firmin Didot to describe a printing plate that duplicated any typography. The duplicate printing plate, or the stereotype, is used for printing instead of the original.
Outside of printing, the first reference to "stereotype" was in 1850, as a noun that meant "image perpetuated without change." However, it was not until 1922 that "stereotype" was first used in the modern psychological sense by American journalist Walter Lippmann in his work Public Opinion.