English Synonyms and Antonyms
From its original sense of sample or specimen (Latin exemplum) example derives the seemingly contradictory meanings, on the one hand of a pattern or model, and on the other hand of a warning — a sample or specimen of what is to be followed, or of what is to be shunned. An example, however, may be more than a sample or specimen of any class; it may be the very archetype or prototype to which the whole class must conform, as when Christ is spoken of as being an example or leaving an example for his disciples. Example comes nearer to the possible freedom of the model than to the necessary exactness of the pattern; often we can not, in a given case, exactly imitate the best example, but only adapt its teachings to altered circumstances. In its application to a person or thing, exemplar can scarcely be distinguished from example; but example is most frequently used for an act, or course of action, for which exemplar is not used; as, one sets a good (or a bad) example. An exemplification is an illustrative working out in action of a principle or law, without any reference to its being copied or repeated; an example guides, an exemplification illustrates or explains. Ensample is the same as example, but is practically obsolete outside of Scriptural or theological language. Compare MODEL; SAMPLE.
Dictionary of English Synonymes
Translations for archetype
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