One that is representative of a group as a whole: the squirrel, an example of a rodent; introduced each new word with examples of its use. One serving as a pattern of a specific kind: set a good example by arriving on time. A similar case that constitutes a model or precedent: a unique episode, without example in maritime history. A punishment given as a warning or deterrent. One that has been given such a punishment: made an example of the offender. A problem or exercise used to illustrate a principle or method. for example As an illustrative instance: Wear something simple; for example, a skirt and blouse.