Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
June 1st, 2016
Episode 542 of 823 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 1, 2016 is: exemplary \ig-ZEM-pluh-ree\ adjective 1 : deserving imitation especially because of excellence : commendable 2 : serving as a warning : monitory 3 : serving as an example, instance, or illustration Examples: Members of the community who have demonstrated exemplary public service will be honored at the ceremony. "Since 1962, Big Blue's Fellows program annually honors exemplary technologists, researchers and scientists within the company." — The Poughkeepsie (New York) Journal, 25 Apr. 2016 Did you know? Since the 1500s, exemplary has been used in English for things deserving imitation. The word (and its close relatives example and exemplify) derives from the Latin noun exemplum, which means "example." Usage commentators have sometimes warned against using exemplary as if it were simply a synonym of excellent, but clear-cut instances of such usage are hard to come by. When exemplary describes something excellent, as it often does, it almost always carries the further suggestion that the thing described is worthy of imitation.