[ig-zem-pluh-ree, eg-zuhm-pler-ee]


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

1400–50 for earlier sense “model, exemplar”; 1580–90 for def 1; late Middle English (noun) < Latin exemplāris. See exemplum, -ary
Related formsex·em·pla·ri·ly, adverbex·em·pla·ri·ness, ex·em·plar·i·ty [eg-zuhm-plar-i-tee] /ˌɛg zəmˈplær ɪ ti/, nounnon·ex·em·pla·ry, adjectiveun·ex·em·pla·ry, adjective

Synonyms for exemplary

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exemplary

Contemporary Examples of exemplary

Historical Examples of exemplary

  • 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.



  • 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.

  • She had seven sons, whom she had educated with the most exemplary piety.

British Dictionary definitions for exemplary



fit for imitation; modelan exemplary performance
serving as a warning; admonitoryan exemplary jail sentence
representative; typicalan action exemplary of his conduct
Derived Formsexemplarily, adverbexemplariness, 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

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