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

Other Words from exemplary

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

An Exemplary Etymology

Exemplary (and its close relatives example and exemplify) derives from the Latin noun exemplum ("example"). When exemplary describes something as "excellent," 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
Recent Examples on the Web The exemplary early twentieth century suburban architecture can be seen modernized in the Palisade Road property, represented by Erin Yabroudy. Hunter Boyce, ajc, 30 July 2022 The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Council of the Knights of Columbus, in Evergreen Park, recently awarded five $500 scholarships to graduates of five area Catholic schools for their exemplary service to their school, church and community. Chicago Tribune, 26 July 2022 Like all other works by Ragamala — an exemplary troupe based in Minneapolis, led by Ranee Ramaswamy and her daughters Aparna and Ashwini — the piece is rooted in Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form from Southern India. New York Times, 24 July 2022 Cycling Schools has exuded exemplary support for the mission of equity and inclusion in National Parks. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, 22 July 2022 Phillips did another exemplary job here, and the course has hosted several Men’s Scottish Opens, and is about to put on the Women’s Scottish Open (July 28). Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 7 July 2022 Thanks to Thurston, the show does an exemplary job of elevating the stories of others on their own terms, not simply as an extractive exercise or an attempt at virtue-signaling. Carolyn Finney, Outside Online, 5 July 2022 At Excel, we are privileged to represent many exemplary athletes, some of whom have chosen to spend their entire careers with one franchise. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 30 June 2022 The Kennedy Center Honors, presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, are bestowed upon artists with exemplary bodies of work across different fields. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 21 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for exemplary

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The first known use of exemplary was circa 1507

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exemplary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exemplary. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exemplary

Nglish: Translation of exemplary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exemplary for Arabic Speakers


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