1. One or a portion taken to show the character or quality of the whole; a sample; a specimen.
2. That which is to be followed or imitated as a model; a pattern or copy.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. --John xiii. 15.
I gave, thou sayest, the example; I led the way. --Milton.
3. That which resembles or corresponds with something else; a precedent; a model.
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause
Doth want example. --Shak.
4. That which is to be avoided; one selected for punishment and to serve as a warning; a warning.
Hang him; he'll be made an example. --Shak.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. --1 Cor. x. 6.
5. An instance serving for illustration of a rule or precept, especially a problem to be solved, or a case to be determined, as an exercise in the application of the rules of any study or branch of science; as, in trigonometry and grammar, the principles and rules are illustrated by examples.
Syn: -- Precedent; case; instance.
Usage: -- Example, Instance. The discrimination to be made between these two words relates to cases in which we give “instances” or “examples” of things done. An instance denotes the single case then “standing” before us; if there be others like it, the word does not express this fact. On the contrary, an example is one of an entire class of like things, and should be a true representative or sample of that class. Hence, an example proves a rule or regular course of things; an instance simply points out what may be true only in the case presented. A man's life may be filled up with examples of the self-command and kindness which marked his character, and may present only a solitary instance of haste or severity. Hence, the word “example” should never be used to describe what stands singly and alone. We do, however, sometimes apply the word instance to what is really an example, because we are not thinking of the latter under this aspect, but solely as a case which “stands before us.” See Precedent.
Ex·am·ple, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Exampled p. pr. & vb. n. Exampling ] To set an example for; to give a precedent for; to exemplify; to give an instance of; to instance. [Obs.] “I may example my digression by some mighty precedent.”
Burke devoted himself to this duty with a fervid assiduity that has not often been exampled, and has never been surpassed. --J. Morley.
n 1: an item of information that is representative of a type;
"this patient provides a typical example of the
syndrome"; "there is an example on page 10" [syn: illustration,
2: a representative form or pattern; "I profited from his
example" [syn: model]
3: something to be imitated; "an exemplar of success"; "a model
of clarity"; "he is the very model of a modern major
general" [syn: exemplar, model, good example]
4: punishment intended as a warning to others; "they decided to
make an example of him" [syn: deterrent example, lesson,
5: an occurrence of something; "it was a case of bad judgment";
"another instance occurred yesterday"; "but there is
always the famous example of the Smiths" [syn: case, instance]
6: a task performed or problem solved in order to develop skill
or understanding; "you must work the examples at the end
of each chapter in the textbook" [syn: exercise]
of Christ (1 Pet. 2:21; John 13:15); of pastors to their flocks
(Phil. 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:3); of the Jews
as a warning (Heb. 4:11); of the prophets as suffering
affliction (James 5:10).