Definition of exemplary
- his courage was exemplary
- they serve exemplary pastries
- —G. V. Higgins
- given an exemplary punishment
- this story is exemplary of her style
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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
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.
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.
: extremely good and deserving to be admired and copied
: serving as an example of something
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