exemplary

adjective
ex·​em·​pla·​ry | \ ig-ˈzem-plə-rē How to pronounce exemplary (audio) \

Definition of exemplary

1a : deserving imitation : commendable his courage was exemplary also : deserving imitation because of excellence they serve exemplary pastries — G. V. Higgins
b : serving as a pattern
2 : serving as an example, instance, or illustration this story is exemplary of her style
3 : serving as a warning : monitory given an exemplary punishment

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Other Words from exemplary

exemplarily \ ˌeg-​ˌzem-​ˈpler-​ə-​lē How to pronounce exemplarily (audio) \ adverb
exemplariness \ ig-​ˈzem-​plə-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce exemplariness (audio) \ noun
exemplarity \ ˌeg-​ˌzem-​ˈpler-​ə-​tē How to pronounce exemplarity (audio) \ noun

An Exemplary Etymology

Since the 1500s, exemplary has been used in English for things deserving imitation. The word (and its close relatives example and exemplify) derives from the Latin noun exemplum, which means "example." Usage commentators have sometimes warned against using exemplary as if it were simply a synonym of excellent, but clear-cut instances of such usage are hard to come by. When exemplary describes something excellent, as it often does, it almost always carries the further suggestion that the thing described is worthy of imitation.

Examples of exemplary in a Sentence

Each cantina has its own style, but almost all of them share several key traits: uniformed waiters offering exemplary service, a trio of musicians strolling from table to table playing songs on request, lots of men playing dominoes, plenty of good tequila and cold beer, and tasty home-cooked botanas (snacks) served free with each round of drinks. — Chris Humphrey, National Geographic Traveler, September 2008 A few Hollywood couples stayed hitched—Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 50 years and counting—but such exemplary marriages had less entertainment value than the connubial career of, say, Elizabeth Taylor, eight times wed and divorced, including two volatile turns with Richard Burton. — Richard Corliss, Time, 28 Jan. 2008 Among the most important factors that distinguished the best Civil War regiments from the mediocre ones were the quality and exemplary courage of their officers. — James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books, 6 Oct. 2005 as a hospital volunteer you have given exemplary service to your community armies have traditionally used public execution as an exemplary punishment for the crime of desertion
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Recent Examples on the Web

Our favorite: the ‘mc2’ table made of smoothly curving solid wood and exemplary for Caldas’ emphasis on robust craftsmanship. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Most Mesmerizing Design Moments of Salone del Mobile," 18 Apr. 2019 Most eventually mature and lead exemplary lives thereafter. WSJ, "Christine Blasey Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh," 20 Sep. 2018 The good news is that while many sites do attempt to name exemplary products, their goals and methodologies vary widely. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "Sites like the Strategist, Wirecutter, and BuzzFeed Reviews want to help you find the best of the best.," 11 Dec. 2018 This Is Us,’’ but also to director Jennifer Chambers and to her exemplary cast, which includes Douglas Rees as Tim, Della’s good-hearted but oblivious husband. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "Rupp brings multiple layers to ‘The Cake’ at Barrington Stage," 29 June 2018 The Aurora City Council and Mayor Richard Irvin recently recognized two students for exemplary work. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora honors achievement by two students," 11 May 2018 Baritone Ambrogio Maestri was immensely touching as Michonnet, the old stage manager who hopelessly loves Adriana and tries to protect her, and his textual clarity in the conversational passages was exemplary. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Adriana Lecouvreur’ Review: More Than a Diva Showcase," 3 Jan. 2019 At least for the ever-exemplary maternity style of Kate Middleton, who today marked her final public engagement before giving birth to her third child (her due date is set for April 23). Maria Ward, Vogue, "Kate Middleton Makes Her Last Public Appearance Before Giving Birth—And She's Still Wearing Heels," 22 Mar. 2018 His leadership as mayor of Shaker Heights has been exemplary and visionary. Karen Farkas, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County Council slams proposals to offer perks to lure and keep top employees," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exemplary.' 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 exemplary

circa 1507, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for exemplary

see exemplar

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Statistics for exemplary

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exemplary

The first known use of exemplary was circa 1507

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More Definitions for exemplary

exemplary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of exemplary

: extremely good and deserving to be admired and copied
formal : serving as an example of something

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Comments on exemplary

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