noun ex·am·ple \ig-ˈzam-pəl\

: a person or way of behaving that is seen as a model that should be followed

: someone or something that is mentioned to help explain what you are saying or to show that a general statement is true

: something or someone chosen from a group in order to show what the whole group is like

Full Definition of EXAMPLE

:  one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated <a good example>
:  a punishment inflicted on someone as a warning to others; also :  an individual so punished
:  one that is representative of all of a group or type
:  a parallel or closely similar case especially when serving as a precedent or model
:  an instance (as a problem to be solved) serving to illustrate a rule or precept or to act as an exercise in the application of a rule
for example \fər-ig-ˈzam-pəl, frig-\
:  as an example <there are many sources of air pollution; exhaust fumes, for example>

Origin of EXAMPLE

Middle English, from Anglo-French essample, example, from Latin exemplum, from eximere to take out, from ex- + emere to take — more at redeem
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of EXAMPLE

instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain <an instance of history repeating itself>. 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>. illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement <a telling illustration of Murphy's Law>. example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case <a typical example of bureaucratic waste>. 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>. specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available <one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art>.

model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal mean someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation. model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation <a decor that is a model of good taste>. example applies to a person to be imitated or in some contexts on no account to be imitated but to be regarded as a warning <children tend to follow the example of their parents>. pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype <American industry set a pattern for others to follow>. exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification <cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage>. ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception <never found a job that matched his ideal>.

Rhymes with EXAMPLE


ex·am·pledex·am·pling \-p(ə-)liŋ\

Definition of EXAMPLE

transitive verb
:  to serve as an example of
archaic :  to be or set an example to

First Known Use of EXAMPLE

15th century
EXAMPLE Defined for Kids


noun ex·am·ple \ig-ˈzam-pəl\

Definition of EXAMPLE for Kids

:  something to be imitated :  model <Try to set a good example.>
:  a sample of something taken to show what the whole is like :  instance
:  a problem to be solved to show how a rule works <an example in arithmetic>
:  something that is a warning to others <Let his punishment be an example to you.>


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