Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, 15th century
An example or model, especially a moralizing or illustrative story.
Examples of Exemplum in a sentence
"The first Star Wars film is an exemplum of the belief that good eventually triumphs over evil."
"Before Shari gave me her keys, she told me how her last house-sitter had watered all her plants, which I took as an exemplum."
Popularity Over Time
The term comes directly from “exemplum” in classical Latin, and was once closely related with “example.” In the late medieval period, both “example” and “exemplum” implied the kind of behaviour that others could model themselves upon. While “example” became a broadly used term synonymous with “sample,” “exemplum” has continued to refer to an allegory from which others can learn some lesson.
Did you Know?
“Exemplum” looks similar to “example,” but the term is concerned with what specifically constitutes a good example. An exemplum, therefore, does not simply give an example of a situation. Rather, like traditional fables and other stories that include an instructive moral, an exemplum presents a case of how a situation is best encountered and resolved.