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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The outstanding hot-chicken sandwiches fuse Sichuan and Nashville spices in exemplary (and sometimes sweat-inducing) ways. Washington Post, "How to survive Smorgasburg, D.C.’s hottest new foodie destination," 21 June 2019 His record as Solicitor General of the State of Alabama and Special Deputy Attorney General is deep and exemplary. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al.com, "Corey Maze confirmed as federal judge for Alabama," 12 June 2019 LaBahn cited Barnett’s age, disability, and exemplary record in prison as factors in her favor. Katherine Ellison, The Mercury News, "Judith Barnett, South Bay woman who plotted to kill her ex 40 years ago, granted parole," 4 June 2019 In addition to his success on the court, JB was an exemplary role model for our students. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, "Calvert Hall basketball coach John Bauersfeld steps down to coach and teach in Georgia," 18 Apr. 2018 Chief Ralph is in a position of authority on our campus, and is expected to serve as an exemplary role model to our students and the community. Indianapolis Star, "Marian University police chief on administrative leave after OWI arrest," 3 Mar. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of exemplary

circa 1507, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for exemplary

see exemplar

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exemplary

Listen to Our Podcast about exemplary

Statistics for exemplary

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exemplary

The first known use of exemplary was circa 1507

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on exemplary

What made you want to look up exemplary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!