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[par-uh-gon, -guh n] /ˈpær əˌgɒn, -gən/
a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence:
a paragon of virtue.
someone of exceptional merit:
Just who is this paragon whose name is on everyone's lips?
Synonyms: nonesuch, nonpareil.
Printing. a 20-point type.
an unusually large, round pearl.
verb (used with object)
Rare. to compare; parallel.
Archaic. to be a match for; rival.
Obsolete. to surpass.
Obsolete. to regard as a paragon.
Origin of paragon
1540-50; < Middle French < Old Italian paragone comparison, perhaps < Greek parágōn, present participle of parágein ‘to bring side by side’
Related forms
paragonless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paragon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then who says Miss Clarissa Harlowe is the paragon of virtue?

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • By Heracles, I said, there never was such a paragon, if he has only one other slight addition.

    Charmides Plato
  • I can afford to marry, without believing my husband to be a paragon—could you do as much?'

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • According to him, she was a paragon of beauty and accomplishments.

  • They will no longer be limited by the defects of their paragon in their efforts to make the most of life.

    The Mistakes of Jesus William Floyd
British Dictionary definitions for paragon


a model of excellence; pattern: a paragon of virtue
a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 20 point
verb (transitive)
  1. to equal or surpass
  2. to compare
  3. to regard as a paragon
Word Origin
C16: via French from Old Italian paragone comparison, from Medieval Greek parakonē whetstone, from Greek parakonan to sharpen against, from para-1 + akonan to sharpen, from akonē whetstone
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 paragon

1540s, from Middle French paragon "a model, pattern of excellence" (15c., Modern French parangon), from Italian paragone, originally "touchstone to test gold" (early 14c.), from paragonare "to test on a touchstone, compare," from Greek parakonan "to sharpen, whet," from para- "on the side" (see para- (1)) + akone "whetstone," from PIE root *ak- "sharp, pointed" (see acrid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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