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paragon

[par-uh-gon, -guh n]
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noun
  1. a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence: a paragon of virtue.
  2. someone of exceptional merit: Just who is this paragon whose name is on everyone's lips?
  3. Printing. a 20-point type.
  4. an unusually large, round pearl.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Rare. to compare; parallel.
  2. Archaic. to be a match for; rival.
  3. Obsolete. to surpass.
  4. Obsolete. to regard as a paragon.
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Origin of paragon

1540–50; < Middle French < Old Italian paragone comparison, perhaps < Greek parágōn, present participle of parágein ‘to bring side by side’
Related formspar·a·gon·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for paragon

paragon

noun
  1. a model of excellence; patterna paragon of virtue
  2. a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 20 point
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verb (tr)
  1. archaic
    1. to equal or surpass
    2. to compare
    3. to regard as a paragon
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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

Word Origin and History for paragon

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper