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From Middle French exemplaire (exemplary; a copy, facsimile; an example; a sample, specimen), from Latin exemplāris (exemplary; a copy, facsimile), from exemplum (an example; a sample; a copy or transcript).



exemplary (comparative more exemplary, superlative most exemplary)

  1. Deserving honour, respect and admiration.
  2. Of such high quality that it should serve as an example to be imitated; ideal, perfect.
    Her behaviour was always exemplary.
    • 1616, Francis Bacon, “A Copy of a Letter Conceived to the Written to the Late Duke of Buckingham when First He Became a Favourite to King James; Containing some Advices to the Duke for His Better Direction in that Eminent Place of Favourite: Drawn at the Entreaty of the Duke Himself. From Sir Francis Bacon.”, in James Spedding, editor, The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon: Including All His Occasional Works namely Letters Speeches Tracts State Papers Memorials Devices and All Authentic Writings not already Printed among His Philosophical Literary or Professional Works: Newly Collected and Set Forth in Chronological Order with a Commentary Biographical and Historical, volume VI, London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, published 1872, OCLC 537909992, page 31:
      The Archbishops and Bishops, next under the King, have the government of the Church and affairs ecclesiastical: be not, Sir, a mean to prefer any to those places for any by-respect; but only such as for their learning, gravity, and worth are deserving: and whose lives and doctrine are and ought to be exemplary.
    • 1678, Jer[emy] Taylor, “Ad[dendum to] Sect. I. Considerations upon the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary, and the Conception of the Holy Jesus”, in The History of the Life and Death of the Holy Jesus: Beginning at the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, untill His Baptism and Temptation inclusively: With Considerations and Discourses upon the Several Parts of the Story; and Prayers Fitted to the Several Mysteries, part I, London: Printed by E. Flesher, for R[ichard] Royston; published in Jeremy Taylor; William Cave, Antiquitates Christianiæ: Or, The History of the Life and Death of the Holy Jesus: As also the Lives, Acts & Martyrdoms of His Apostles. In Two Parts. The First Part, Containing The Life of Christ, written by Jer[emy] Taylor, Late Lord Bishop of Down and Connor. The Second, Containing The Lives of the Apostles, with an Enumeration, and some Brief Remarks upon Their First Successors in the Five Great Apostolical Churches, by William Cave, D.D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty. By whom also is Added an Apparatus, or Discourse Introductory to the Whole Work, Concerning the Three Great Dispensations of the Church, Patriarchal, Mosaical, and Evangelical, London: Printed by E. Flesher, and R. Norton, for R. Royston, bookseller to his most Sacred Majesty, 1678, OCLC 181885479, page 3:
      For thus the Saviour of the world became humane, alluring, full of invitation and the ſweetneſſes of love, exemplary, humble and medicinal.
  3. Serving as a warning; monitory.
    exemplary justice, exemplary punishment, exemplary damages
    • 1999, Graham Virgo, “Restitution for Torts”, in The Principles of the Law of Restitution, Oxford: Clarendon Press, →ISBN, page 473:
      For certain torts exemplary damages may be awarded to punish the defendant for cynically committing them and other remedies are available which are purely restitutionary in effect, notably restitutionary damages and money had and received.
  4. Providing an example or illustration.
    • 16th–17th century, John Donne; Henry Alford, “Sermon CVII. Preached to the King, at Whitehall, the First Sunday in Lent.”, in The Works of John Donne, D.D., Dean of St. Paul’s, 1621–1631. With a Memoir of His Life by Henry Alford, M.A., Vicar of Wymeswold, Leicestershire, and Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In Six Volumes, volume IV, London: John W[illiam] Parker, West Strand, published 1839, OCLC 151169612, page 461:
      [T]ill he infect and poison that age, and spoil that time that he lives in by his exemplary sins, till he be pestis secularis, the plague of that age, peccator secularis, the proverbial sinner of that age, and so be a sinner of a hundred years, till in his actions he have been, or in his desires be, or in the foreknowledge of God would be a sinner of a hundred years, an inveterate, an incorrigible, an everlasting sinner, yet God comes not to curse him.
    • 1999, Marcus Doel, “Neighbourhood of Infinity – Spatial Science after Deleuze and Guattari”, in Poststructuralist Geographies: The Diabolical Art of Spatial Science, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 161:
      [] I want to round off my consideration of poststructuralist geographies by pursuing origami as the exemplary art of spatial science.




exemplary (plural exemplaries)

  1. (obsolete) An example, or typical instance.
    • 1579, [William] Fulke, “The Third Booke of Maister Heskins Parleament Repealed by W. Fulke”, in D. Heskins, D. Sanders, and M. Rastel, Accounted (among Their Faction) Three Pillers and Archpatriarches of the Popish Synagogue, (Utter Enemies to the Truth of Christes Gospell, and All that Sincerely Professe the Same) Ouerthrowne, and Detected of the Seuerall Blasphemous Heresies, London: Printed by Henrie Middleton for George Bishop, OCLC 19913747, page 374:
      [I]n the place by M. Hesk. alledged, denyeth that Baſill calleth breade & wine ἀντίτυπα, or exemplaria, exemplaries of the bodie and bloud of Chriſt after the conſecration, which is an impudent lye; for before the conſecration there are no ſacraments, and ſo no exemplars of the bodie and bloud of Chriſte: therefore if he called them exemplars, it muſt needs be when they are ſacraments, & yt is after conſecration: []
  2. (obsolete) A copy of a book or a piece of writing.
    • 1631, John Weever, “The Loboryouse Iourney and Serche of Iohan Leylande, for Englandes Antiquitees, Given of Him as a New Yeares Gift to Kynge Henry the Eyghte in the Thirty Seuenth Yeere of His Reygne”, in Ancient Fvnerall Monvments within the Vnited Monarchie of Great Britaine, Ireland, and the Islands adiacent, with the Dissolued Monasteries therein Contained: Their Founders, and what Eminent Persons Haue Beene in the Same Interred. [...], London: Printed by Thomas Harper. [...] And are to be sold by Laurence Sadler at the signe of the Golden Lion in little Britaine, OCLC 940081232, page 689:
      Farther, more part of the exemplaries, curiouſly ſought by me, and fortunately found in ſundry places of this your dominion, hath bene emprinted in Germany, and now be in the preſſes chefley of Frobenus, []


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