ex·​em·​plum ig-ˈzem-pləm How to pronounce exemplum (audio)
plural exempla ig-ˈzem-plə How to pronounce exemplum (audio)
: example, model
an exemplum of heroism
: an anecdote or short narrative used to point a moral or sustain an argument

Examples of exemplum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 2013, the Italian playwright Stefano Massini turned this exemplum into The Lehman Trilogy, an epic five-hour play that was adapted and condensed last year by the director Sam Mendes and playwright Ben Power for the National Theatre in London. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, 11 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exemplum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of exemplum was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near exemplum

Cite this Entry

“Exemplum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exemplum. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​em·​plum ig-ˈzem-pləm How to pronounce exemplum (audio)
plural exempla -plə How to pronounce exemplum (audio)
: a story used to point out a moral or support an argument

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