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[ig-zem-pluh-ree, eg-zuh m-pler-ee] /ɪgˈzɛm plə ri, ˈɛg zəmˌplɛr i/
worthy of imitation; commendable:
exemplary conduct.
serving as a warning:
an exemplary penalty.
serving as an illustration or specimen; illustrative; typical:
The sentences read are exemplary of the style of the essay as a whole.
serving as a model or pattern:
The authoritative and exemplary text of the work is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
of, relating to, or composed of exempla, or examples or models:
the exemplary literature of the medieval period.
Origin of exemplary
late Middle English
1400-50 for earlier sense “model, exemplar”; 1580-90 for def 1; late Middle English (noun) < Latin exemplāris. See exemplum, -ary
Related forms
exemplarily, adverb
exemplariness, exemplarity [eg-zuh m-plar-i-tee] /ˌɛg zəmˈplær ɪ ti/ (Show IPA), noun
nonexemplary, adjective
unexemplary, adjective
1. laudable, noteworthy, praiseworthy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for exemplary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Rice is a lady of refinement, exemplary, and much beloved and respected.

  • And I am bound to say he obeyed that order with the most exemplary alacrity.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
  • And yet this man has for years been leading a most exemplary life?

  • He sighed and clasped his hands on his stomach with exemplary resignation.

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • She had seven sons, whom she had educated with the most exemplary piety.

British Dictionary definitions for exemplary


fit for imitation; model: an exemplary performance
serving as a warning; admonitory: an exemplary jail sentence
representative; typical: an action exemplary of his conduct
Derived Forms
exemplarily, adverb
exemplariness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exemplary

1580s, "fit to be an example," from Middle French exemplaire, from Latin exemplaris "that serves as an example," from exemplum "example" (see example). Earlier (early 15c.) as a noun meaning "a model of conduct."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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