ex·​am·​ple | \ ig-ˈzam-pəl How to pronounce example (audio) \

Definition of example

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated a good example
2 : a punishment inflicted on someone as a warning to others also : an individual so punished
3 : one that is representative of all of a group or type
4 : a parallel or closely similar case especially when serving as a precedent or model
5 : an instance (such as a problem to be solved) serving to illustrate a rule or precept or to act as an exercise in the application of a rule
for example \ fər-​ig-​ˈzam-​pəl How to pronounce example (audio) , frig-​ \
: as an example there are many sources of air pollution; exhaust fumes, for example


exampled; exampling\ ig-​ˈzam-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce exampling (audio) \

Definition of example (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to serve as an example of
2 archaic : to be or set an example to

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Choose the Right Synonym for example


instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain. an instance of history repeating itself case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with. a case of mistaken identity illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement. a telling illustration of Murphy's Law example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case. a typical example of bureaucratic waste sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities. show us a sample of your work specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available. one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal mean someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation. model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation. a decor that is a model of good taste example applies to a person to be imitated or in some contexts on no account to be imitated but to be regarded as a warning. children tend to follow the example of their parents pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype. American industry set a pattern for others to follow exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification. cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception. never found a job that matched his ideal

Examples of example in a Sentence

Noun He set a good example for the rest of us. She gave several examples to show that the program is effective. We've chosen three examples of contemporary architecture for closer study. a classic example of a Persian rug a fine example of the artist's work The dictionary includes thousands of examples.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For example, our section has had more coverage of frugal home cooking, more discussion of the business side of restaurants and more conversations with wage workers, not just chefs and owners. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Let’s hope canned tuna recipes are more than just a coronavirus fad," 4 May 2020 At the Olmos Club Apartments, for example, city officials and housing attorneys question whether the landlord violated the CARES Act — and state law — by locking tenants out. Marina Starleaf Riker, ExpressNews.com, "More than half of S.A. families could be protected from eviction through end of August," 4 May 2020 The Tigers, for example, have former Oakland A's pitcher Aaron Brooks and ex-Houston Astros outfielder Preston Tucker. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Korea Baseball Organization will have curious MLB fans watching as regular season begins," 4 May 2020 More than two in 10 black African women of working age, for example, are employed in health and social care roles. NBC News, "Russia records record rise in new coronavirus cases for third day in a row," 4 May 2020 For example, on Zoom video calls, many people apply artificial backgrounds with lighting that does not match the illumination of the actual user. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, "A Shiny Snack Bag’s Reflections Can Reconstruct the Room around It," 4 May 2020 The situation differs by county, with Maricopa having 108.8 cases and 3.85 deaths per 100,000 residents and Coconino having 366.7 cases and 29.88 deaths per 100,000 residents, for example. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Arizona coronavirus update: 8,919 confirmed cases, 362 known deaths as of Monday," 4 May 2020 The downy woodpecker, for example, is smaller than a robin. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Birding is a socially distancing friendly sport you can do during the Great Wisconsin Birdathon," 4 May 2020 For example, under Holcomb's plan for Indiana, retail shops could open Monday at 50% capacity, and restaurants could do the same next week at the same crowd reduction. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville chamber of commerce: Kentucky, Indiana need to fix 'disjointed reopening plans'," 4 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'example.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of example


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for example


Middle English, from Anglo-French essample, example, from Latin exemplum, from eximere to take out, from ex- + emere to take — more at redeem

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Time Traveler for example

Time Traveler

The first known use of example was in the 14th century

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Statistics for example

Last Updated

7 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Example.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/example. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for example


How to pronounce example (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of example

: a person or way of behaving that is seen as a model that should be followed
: someone or something that is mentioned to help explain what you are saying or to show that a general statement is true
: something or someone chosen from a group in order to show what the whole group is like


ex·​am·​ple | \ ig-ˈzam-pəl How to pronounce example (audio) \

Kids Definition of example

1 : something to be imitated : model Try to set a good example.
2 : a sample of something taken to show what the whole is like : instance
3 : a problem to be solved to show how a rule works an example in arithmetic
4 : something that is a warning to others Let his punishment be an example to you.

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More from Merriam-Webster on example

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for example

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with example

Spanish Central: Translation of example

Nglish: Translation of example for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of example for Arabic Speakers

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