Definition of exemplary in English:



  • 1Serving as a desirable model; very good.

    ‘exemplary behaviour’
    • ‘He still dresses like a kid about to go outside and play a game of hoops in the street, but his preparation, concentration and behaviour are now exemplary.’
    • ‘Among the exemplary health promotion programs reviewed, several were deemed to be particularly relevant to new immigrant women.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the Chelsea chairman has insisted the new Premiership champions have not received the credit they deserve this season for their exemplary behaviour on the pitch.’
    • ‘Within the community she is also a key figure, particularly among local ethnic communities where she is viewed as an exemplary role model.’
    • ‘The report said international cooperation that helped eradicate polio in all but seven countries was exemplary.’
    • ‘It says her behaviour is exemplary, she has ‘enhanced status’ in the prison and she works as the chaplain's orderly at Styal Prison.’
    • ‘The author and publisher deserve high praise for producing an exemplary model of its kind.’
    • ‘Are my family aware of this negative trait in my otherwise exemplary character?’
    • ‘Only for the Balokole is it intolerable, and even they have to accept that their own children may fail to model the exemplary life.’
    • ‘His commentaries survive because they were adopted as exemplary models by later commentators.’
    • ‘The ideal Arab Mother Award presented $10,000 to the most exemplary mother.’
    • ‘Indeed their job was made considerably easier by the exemplary behaviour of all the young players who travelled and represented both family and club with pride and distinction, as they have done all year.’
    • ‘When the report came back, Nike kept its contents secret, and continued to maintain that their factories were models of exemplary employee conditions.’
    • ‘Uncle is our inspiration and an exemplary role model to all as he is loyal, loving, caring and a mentor to us.’
    • ‘However, the duke's performance on the road has not always been exemplary.’
    • ‘Millwall's supporters stole the show, capping another trouble-free season with their exemplary behaviour before and after the match, and really getting behind the team from beginning to end.’
    • ‘This continual influx of well-prepared teachers supports the school's mission and vision of being an exemplary dual language school.’
    • ‘She also shows how Sappho was identified by Victorian feminists with the cause of suffering women, serving simultaneously as model and as exemplary victim.’
    • ‘Traditionally migration has been the principal response, with the US being exemplary in this respect.’
    • ‘His work habits and attitudes are acknowledged by his employer as exemplary.’
    perfect, ideal, model, faultless, without fault, copybook, flawless, impeccable, consummate
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    1. 1.1 Characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule.
      ‘her works are exemplary of certain feminist arguments’
  • 2(of a punishment) serving as a warning or deterrent.

    ‘exemplary sentencing may discourage the violent minority’
    • ‘Simply because driving tests are tough, laws are implemented rigorously and punishment is severe and exemplary and it doesn't matter who you are.’
    • ‘This kind of war all but inevitably produces exemplary punishments of civilians, destruction of homes and reprisals against the families of men fighting the occupation.’
    • ‘As long as the real perpetrators are not caught and punished with exemplary sentences, these attacks will continue to hurt innocent people.’
    • ‘Public beheadings are routine in Saudi Arabia, but crucifixion is reserved as an exemplary punishment under sharia law for crimes of the utmost severity.’
    • ‘Those arrested and charged must be fast-tracked through the courts, and the courts must pass exemplary sentences on those found guilty of carrying knives.’
    • ‘‘I ask the court for an exemplary sentence,’ said Mr Rubira after the court heard two months of testimony.’
    • ‘What in fact has occurred is the exemplary punishment of one worker.’
    • ‘There may be valuable lessons, cautionary as well as exemplary, to be learned from the developments in the primary and community sectors.’
    • ‘Only honesty isn't likely if the reward for it is crucifixion in the press, four different malpractice suits and an exemplary jail sentence.’
    • ‘Our leaders go through a ritualistic exercise, vowing to unearth the culprits immediately and giving them exemplary punishment.’
    • ‘‘One way to stop this is for magistrates and the judiciary system to give exemplary sentences to anyone convicted,’ he said.’
    • ‘They could cut violent crime with exemplary sentences, murder by the death penalty or by making ‘life’ imprisonment, in practice about 12 years, live up to its name.’
    • ‘If there is exemplary punishment of the corporation and its officials, then other corporations will think twice before imposing risks on the life and health of ordinary people.’
    • ‘However the criminal justice system might use an exemplary punishment to show that we will not put up with this.’
    • ‘On 23 May 1995 he was discharged in the rank of Lance Sergeant with an exemplary discharge note.’
    • ‘The extremely brutal massacre of the family is the worst act of terrorism, which deserves an exemplary punishment.’
    • ‘Exemplary punishment of those found guilty by the inquiry committee, according to the law.’
    • ‘Some faith was also placed in the power of judicial terror: the exemplary hanging.’
    • ‘They are aimed at intimidating the population as a whole through the use of overwhelming military violence and the policy of exemplary punishment.’
    serving as a deterrent
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    1. 2.1Law (of damages) exceeding the amount needed for simple compensation.
      • ‘Aggravated damages occupy a murky middle ground between normal compensatory damages and exemplary damages.’
      • ‘Did she not obtain the benefit of an award of aggravated or exemplary damages?’
      • ‘Aggravated damages, which are not always readily distinguishable from exemplary damages, may both compensate and have a punitive effect.’
      • ‘Franklin is counter-suing, claiming punitive and exemplary damages amounting to £18m.’


Late 16th century: from late Latin exemplaris, from Latin exemplum ‘sample, imitation’ (see example).