paragon

noun
par·​a·​gon | \ ˈper-ə-ˌgän How to pronounce paragon (audio) , -gən, ˈpa-rə-\

Definition of paragon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a model of excellence or perfection was a paragon of goodness a paragon of a wife

paragon

verb
paragoned; paragoning; paragons

Definition of paragon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to compare with : parallel
2 : to put in rivalry : match
3 obsolete : surpass

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Paragon Has Old Italian and Greek Roots

Noun

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: Noun

By the same token, anyone unmasked as less than a moral paragon will be vilified. Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, "Kant in Kindergarten Could Ease the Civility Crisis," 28 Dec. 2018 Now, the model, designer, and perpetual paragon of Parisian elegance brings them into her home and the interior spaces of other creative Parisians with her latest tome, Maison: Parisian Chic at Home (Flammarion, 2018). Lindsey Tramuta, Condé Nast Traveler, "Ines de la Fressange and Marin Montagut on How to Achieve 'Parisian Chic'," 1 Oct. 2018 Enter Hader’s Barry, a dour, Midwestern hitman, and a paragon of professionalism compared to the Chechens. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "You should know Anthony Carrigan, 'Gotham' villain turned Bill Hader's 'Barry' foil," 26 Apr. 2018 Penn’s hallmarks were stillness and poise, using studio lights to capture models as paragons of elegance. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "A Century of Fashion and Photographic Genius," 1 June 2018 The 32-story rental tower at 461 Dean St., in the Pacific Park complex in Brooklyn, completed in 2016 and now fully leased, was supposed to be a paragon of high-rise modular design. Stefanos Chen, The Seattle Times, "Real estate technology that could have a lasting effect on housing," 20 Nov. 2018 To start: Indian Canyon Road is packed with antique shops and galleries, and Sunnylands (a 200-acre historic estate) and the iconic neighborhood of Twin Palms are paragons of mid-century design. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Now he's held up by liberals as a paragon of virtue. Fox News, "Christopher Steele's communications with DOJ raise questions," 11 Aug. 2018 This organic skincare brand is vegan pure, using no paragons, or artificial colors or fragrances. Amanda Hearst, Marie Claire, "Metamour Botanique Botanicals," 28 Mar. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paragon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paragon

Noun

circa 1548, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paragon

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

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Statistics for paragon

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for paragon

The first known use of paragon was circa 1548

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More Definitions for paragon

paragon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paragon

formal : a person or thing that is perfect or excellent in some way and should be considered a model or example to be copied

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More from Merriam-Webster on paragon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paragon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paragon

Spanish Central: Translation of paragon

Nglish: Translation of paragon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paragon for Arabic Speakers

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