Definition of paragon in English:



  • 1A person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality.

    ‘it would have taken a paragon of virtue not to feel viciously jealous’
    • ‘I think if we look back on our history, we had some very effective public servants who may have had some problems in their personal life and people who were perhaps paragons of personal behavior but were not good publicly to our country.’
    • ‘Collins may not have been a paragon of virtue but he deserves better than to be remembered by future generations as a ruthless, self-serving and power-hungry meglomaniac.’
    • ‘But Cedric the Entertainer steals the show as Eddie, the ancient barber who is a paragon of political incorrectness.’
    • ‘Marigold means well in her vocation, but her strength of character and reputation as a paragon of all virtues isolates her from the reality of messy, suffering, worrying, humanity.’
    • ‘Asylum-seekers are subject to human nature, just like the rest of us, and not every single one is going to be a paragon of virtue.’
    • ‘Even though he was divorced and many of his Hollywood friends hardly saw him as a paragon of morality, he managed to present himself in politics as an exemplar of ‘family values.’’
    • ‘Over the past 10 years the Minneapolis Star Tribune has made itself a national laughingstock as a paragon of political correctness.’
    • ‘Persius is often regarded as a paragon of Stoic virtue, but in fact he makes no secret of his own imperfections; in the confusion of different voices, he speaks as an erring student as well as a stern tutor.’
    • ‘It turns out Fields was a huge admirer of hers, but their approaches to comedy, and life, were poles apart - Fields being a master of excess and West a paragon of abstemiousness.’
    • ‘This, after all, is the same industry that last year spent $1.7 billion on TV ads promoting its products and painting itself as a paragon of virtue and compassion.’
    1. 1.1A person or thing viewed as a model of excellence.
      ‘your cook is a paragon’
      • ‘In his college years at William and Mary he came to admire Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke as three great paragons of wisdom.’
      • ‘I'll be controversial here - because a site I previously held as a paragon of good design has recently broken this rule, and I think oddverse is worse for doing so.’
      • ‘All disciplines have their paragons of the past to emulate.’
      • ‘The US views itself as a beacon on the hill, a paragon for other nations to emulate.’
      • ‘The purpose of the exercise is not to turn the butterflies into paragons of health, but rather to test their long-distance flight performance.’
      • ‘In a country where universities emphasise competitive sports sometimes even more than academics, Notre Dame, in Indiana, was long the paragon of undergraduate football excellence.’
      • ‘The Games are held to be the paragon of selfless and noble sporting achievement.’
      • ‘Left wing provocateurs whose work would be dismissed as uninteresting or merely crude if it were apolitical or as a sociological freak show if it were right wing tend to be discussed as paragons of graphic design excellence.’
      • ‘But Nestlé and other paragons of corporate excellence are only half the picture.’
      • ‘These films may not be shining paragons of filmmaking excellence, but they are exciting and contain great action scenes - and that's exactly what they aspire to be.’
      • ‘And Chinese manufacturers are hardly paragons of energy efficiency.’
      perfect example, shining example, good example, model, epitome, archetype, ideal, exemplar, nonpareil, paradigm, embodiment, personification, quintessence, standard, prototype, apotheosis, the crème de la crème, the beau idéal, acme
      jewel, gem, flower, angel, treasure
      a perfect example of its kind
      one in a million, the bee's knees, something else, the tops
      a nonesuch
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A perfect diamond of 100 carats or more.
      • ‘Exceptionally large and beautiful stones, the so-called solitaires, paragons, or nonpareils, have, corresponding to the rarity of their occurrence, an exceptional value, which is subject to no rules and is governed solely by the special circumstances of the case.’
      • ‘The number of perfect large diamonds, called paragons, is very small; and so we read, "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (1 Cor. 1:26).’


Mid 16th century: from obsolete French, from Italian paragone touchstone to try good (gold) from bad, from medieval Greek parakonē whetstone.