Definition of exemplary
1a : serving as a patternb : deserving imitation : commendable his courage was exemplary; also : deserving imitation because of excellence they serve exemplary pastries — G. V. Higgins
2 : serving as a warning : monitory given an exemplary punishment
3 : serving as an example, instance, or illustration this story is exemplary of her style
exemplarilyplay \ˌeg-ˌzem-ˈpler-ə-lē\ adverb
exemplarinessplay \ig-ˈzem-plə-rē-nəs\ noun
exemplarityplay \ˌeg-ˌzem-ˈpler-ə-tē\ noun
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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 of exemplary from the Web
Ultimate Ears verdict: The best of the best with an exemplary fit and finish.
The Wuerffel Trophy is presented annually to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Rich contends that the military violated his constitutional rights by relying on the shaky, hearsay testimony of a toddler and then allowing a biased juror to disregard the sailor’s exemplary military record as the jury decided his sentence in 2014.
But big corporate media does face enough regulatory matters that even a single exemplary case would suffice to induce large-scale self-censorship.
In its profile of the exemplary self-destructive, working-class white guy circa 2016, the only box the movie left unchecked was a painkiller addiction.
His lawyer, Gregory Friedman, said Loizon was an exemplary employee who was wrongly demoted and fired.
This award recognizes individuals who support the library media services in an exemplary manner to the point that without the services there would be a void.
The goal is to build another exemplary campus in the same general area to address overcrowding issues raised by parents.
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.
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.
EXEMPLARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of exemplary for English Language Learners
: extremely good and deserving to be admired and copied
: serving as an example of something
Seen and Heard
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