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A model is an informative representation of an object, person or system. The term originally denoted the plans of a building in late 16th-century English, and derived via French and Italian ultimately from Latin modulus, a measure.

Models can be divided into physical models (e.g. a successful pupil as a role model for others in the school) and abstract models (e.g. mathematical expressions describing behavioural patterns). Abstract or conceptual models are central to philosophy of science,[1][2] as almost every scientific theory effectively embeds some kind of model of the physical or human sphere.

In commerce, "model" can refer to a specific design of a product as displayed in a catalogue or show room (e.g. Ford Model T), and by extension to the sold product itself.

Types of models include:

Physical model[edit]

A physical model is a physical representation of an object, such as a miniature aeroplane representing a real aeroplane.

  • Model (art), a person posing for an artist, e.g. a 15th-century criminal representing the biblical Judas in Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper
    • Model (person), a person who serves as a template for others to copy, often in the context of advertising commercial products
  • Model (product), a particular design of a product offered by its manufacturer
    • Car model, a particular design of vehicle sold by a manufacturer
  • Model organism (often shortened to model), a non-human species that is studied to understand biological phenomena present in other related organisms, e.g. a guinea pig starved of vitamin C to study scurvy, an experiment that would be immoral to conduct on a person
  • Model (mimicry), a species that is mimicked by another species

Conceptual model[edit]

A conceptual model is a theoretical representation of a system, e.g. a set of equations attempting to describe the workings of the atmosphere for the purpose of weather forecasting.

  • Conceptual model (computer science), a representation of entities and their relationships
  • Mathematical model, a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language
  • Economic model, a theoretical construct representing economic processes
  • Statistical model, a mathematical model that usually specifies the relationship between one or more random variables and other non-random variables
  • Model (CGI), a mathematical representation of any surface of an object in three dimensions via specialized software
  • Model (logic), a set along with a collection of finitary operations, and relations that are defined on it, satisfying a given collection of axioms
  • Model (MVC), the central component of the model–view–controller software design pattern
  • Standard model (disambiguation)
  • Medical model, a proposed "set of procedures in which all doctors are trained"
  • Model act, a law drafted centrally to be disseminated and proposed for enactment in multiple independent legislatures


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster.
  2. ^ Tatomir, A.; et al. (2018). "Conceptual model development using a generic Features, Events, and Processes (FEP) database for assessing the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater aquifers". Advances in Geosciences. 45: 185–192. doi:10.5194/adgeo-45-185-2018.