I’m a long-time fan of communicating clearly and concisely and not using a ten-dollar word when the dime version will do. And yet sometimes it’s necessary to call up the big guns for just the reasons I mentioned: clarity and conciseness.
A recent addition to the lexicon of over-used and over-mocked words is paradigm. True, many blowhards trot it out in order to come off as being cool and with it without knowing its real meaning. Or at least having only a hazy concept of same. A paradigm is a pattern that all things in a given category match. In learning a foreign language for instance, the conjugation of one regular verb is the same for all other regular verbs. (You want irregular verbs, look them up.)
But even when you use the word properly, a few mavens-in-waiting will pounce on you and scold you for being pretentious. Paradigm means a pattern or model. Folks might ask you, “Then why not just say pattern or model?”
Here’s your answer: Because, chucklehead (optional), model can refer to a scaled down replica of a structure or scene, a human being showing off the latest clothing designs, a version of a car, and many other meanings. Pattern can refer to a series of human behaviors, instructions to make a dress, a path for an aircraft to follow, and many other meanings.
Paradigm means just the one thing. Be bold: Use it and any other word like it if you want to be precise.