as in instance
one of a group or collection that shows what the whole is like a war bonnet that is a fine example of Native American handicraft

Synonyms & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How is the word example distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of example are case, illustration, instance, sample, and specimen. While all these words mean "something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category," example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case.

a typical example of bureaucratic waste

When could case be used to replace example?

While in some cases nearly identical to example, case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with.

a case of mistaken identity

When would illustration be a good substitute for example?

The meanings of illustration and example largely overlap; however, illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement.

a telling illustration of Murphy's Law

Where would instance be a reasonable alternative to example?

In some situations, the words instance and example are roughly equivalent. However, instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain.

an instance of history repeating itself

When is sample a more appropriate choice than example?

Although the words sample and example have much in common, sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities.

show us a sample of your work

When might specimen be a better fit than example?

The words specimen and example can be used in similar contexts, but specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available.

one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

Thesaurus Entries Near example

Cite this Entry

“Example.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on example

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!