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par·​a·​gon ˈper-ə-ˌgän How to pronounce paragon (audio)
: a model of excellence or perfection
was a paragon of goodness
a paragon of a wife


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paragoned; paragoning; paragons

transitive verb

: to compare with : parallel
: to put in rivalry : match
obsolete : surpass

Did you know?

Paragon Has Old Italian and Greek Roots

Paragon derives from the Old Italian word paragone, which literally means "touchstone." A touchstone is a black stone that was formerly used to judge the purity of gold or silver. The metal was rubbed on the stone and the color of the streak it left indicated its quality. In modern English, both touchstone and paragon have come to signify a standard against which something should be judged. Ultimately, paragon comes from the Greek parakonan, meaning "to sharpen," from the prefix para- ("alongside of") and akonē, meaning "whetstone."

Examples of paragon in a Sentence

Noun in Arthurian legend, Sir Galahad is depicted as the one knight who is a paragon of virtue
Recent Examples on the Web
In the business world, Google stands as a paragon of evolution, transforming from a humble search engine into a global tech giant. John Hall, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 That doesn’t mean every woman on the right is a paragon of clear thinking. Christian Schneider, National Review, 1 Feb. 2024 Over the past 100 years, Argentina went from being seen as a paragon of stability and success to brutal military dictatorship, experiencing violent coups and, at the turn of the century, economic collapse. Harriet Marsden, The Week Uk, theweek, 22 Jan. 2024 First, in its substance: Xi styled China under his watch as a custodian of the international order, a paragon of globalization and free-trading liberalism and an opponent of self-defeating, nationalist protectionism. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2024 Louisiana ranked 41st among the states in its percentage of 100-year-olds (0.016%) in 2019 — behind such paragons of public health as Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 Jennifer Lopez is one of the most famous women in the world, successful as a movie star, singer, dancer, and paragon of skin care. Vulture, 22 Dec. 2023 Introduction Improving the Quantum Standard For decades, Shor’s algorithm has been the paragon of the power of quantum computers. Quanta Magazine, 20 Dec. 2023 In an era of rapid technological advancement and shifting market dynamics, the automotive industry stands as a paragon of innovation and strategic adaptation. Eliron Ekstein, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle French, from Old Italian paragone, literally, touchstone, from paragonare to test on a touchstone, from Greek parakonan to sharpen, from para- + akonē whetstone, from akē point; akin to Greek akmē point — more at edge

First Known Use


circa 1548, in the meaning defined above


circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of paragon was circa 1548


Dictionary Entries Near paragon

Cite this Entry

“Paragon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a model of excellence or perfection

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