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Borrowed from Latin exemplum (example). Doublet of example and sample.


exemplum (plural exempla)

  1. An example.
  2. A story demonstrating a moral point; a parable.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 90:
      In the Middle Ages preachers had enlivened their sermons with exempla – edifying tales of judgements upon sinners and mercies shown to the pious.

Related terms[edit]



Similar formation as exēmptus, perfect passive participle of eximō (take out, take away)



exemplum n (genitive exemplī); second declension

  1. a sample
  2. an example
  3. (in particular) a warning example, lesson, penalty
    esse in exemplōto serve as a warning
  4. a copy or transcript


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative exemplum exempla
Genitive exemplī exemplōrum
Dative exemplō exemplīs
Accusative exemplum exempla
Ablative exemplō exemplīs
Vocative exemplum exempla

Derived terms[edit]


  • Italo-Dalmatian:


  • exemplum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • exemplum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • exemplum in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • exemplum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • a good,[1] brilliant example; a striking example: exemplum clarum, praeclarum
    • a good, brilliant example; a striking example: exemplum luculentum
    • a good, brilliant example; a striking example: exemplum illustre
    • a weighty example, precedent: exemplum magnum, grande
    • to quote an example: exemplum afferre
    • to quote an example: exemplo uti
    • to cite a person or a thing as an example: aliquem (aliquid) exempli causa ponere, proferre, nominare, commemorare
    • to quote precedents for a thing: aliquid exemplis probare, comprobare, confirmare
    • to demonstrate by instances: aliquid exemplis ostendere
    • to borrow instances from history: exempla petere, repetere a rerum gestarum memoria or historiarum (annalium, rerum gestarum) monumentis
    • examples taken from Roman (Greek) history: exempla a rerum Romanarum (Graecarum) memoria petita
    • to collect, accumulate instances: multa exempla in unum (locum) colligere
    • to choose one from a large number of instances: ex infinita exemplorum copia unum (pauca) sumere, decerpere (eligere)
    • to quote Socrates as a model of virtue: a Socrate exemplum virtutis petere, repetere
    • standard and pattern: auctoritas et exemplum (Balb. 13. 31)
    • to set up some one as one's ideal, model: sibi exemplum alicuius proponere ad imitandum or simply sibi aliquem ad imitandum proponere
    • to take a lesson from some one's example: sibi exemplum sumere ex aliquo or exemplum capere de aliquo
    • to shape one's conduct after another's model: ad exemplum alicuius se conformare
    • to set an example: exemplum edere, prodere
    • to set an example: exemplo esse
    • to inflict an exemplary punishment on some one: exemplum in aliquo or in aliquem statuere
    • to inflict an exemplary punishment on some one: exemplum (severitatis) edere in aliquo (Q. Fr. 1. 2. 2. 5)
    • the text of the author (not textus): verba, oratio, exemplum scriptoris
    • a letter, the tenor of which is..: litterae hoc exemplo (Att. 9. 6. 3)