mid-15c., exemplificacioun, "illustration or demonstration by example," from Anglo-French exemplificacion "attested copy or transcript of a document" (late 14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin exemplificationem (nominative exemplificatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of exemplificare "to illustrate" (see exemplify). Holinshed had a back-formation exemplificate.
1590s, "decorated entrance of a building," from French frontispice (16c.), which is probably from Italian frontespizio and Medieval Latin frontispicium "facade," originally "a view of the forehead, judgment of character through facial features," from Latin frons (genitive frontis) "forehead" (see front (n.)) + specere "to look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Sense of "illustration facing a book's title page" first recorded 1680s. The English spelling alteration apparently is from confusion with unrelated piece (n.).
late 14c., moustre, "action of showing, demonstration, manifestation, exhibition" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French mostre "illustration, proof; examination, inspection" (13c., Modern French montre), literally "that which is shown," from mostrer "appear, show, reveal" (see muster (v.)). Meaning "an assembly or act of gathering troops" is from c. 1400. Meaning "a register or roll of troops mustered" is from 1560s. To pass muster "undergo review without censure" is by 1620s; in the form pass the musters it is attested from 1570s.
in rhetoric, "a figure conjoining words or terms apparently contradictory so as to give point to the statement or expression," 1650s, from Greek oxymōron, noun use of neuter of oxymōros (adj.) "pointedly foolish," from oxys "sharp, pointed" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce") + mōros "stupid" (see moron). The word itself is an illustration of the thing. Now often used loosely to mean "contradiction in terms." Related: Oxymoronic.
late 14c., "a taking, seizure," from Old French capcion "arrest, capture, imprisonment," or directly from Latin captionem (nominative capito) "a catching, seizing, holding, taking," noun of action from past-participle stem of capere "to take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp").
It was used from mid-17c. in the wording at the head of legal documents involving seizure, deposition, etc. ("Certificate of caption"). Thus the sense was extended to "the beginning of any document," and further to "heading of a chapter or section of an article" (1789), and, especially in U.S., "description or title below an illustration" (1919).
"single eyeglass," 1886, from French monocle, noun use of adjective monocle "one-eyed, blind in one eye" (13c.), from Late Latin monoculus "one-eyed," from Greek monos "single, alone" (from PIE root *men- (4) "small, isolated") + Latin oculus "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). Earlier as a name of a kind of bandage for one eye, also from French.
That this, a hybrid, a Gallicism, and a word with no obvious meaning to the Englishman who hears it for the first time, should have ousted the entirely satisfactory eyeglass is a melancholy illustration of the popular taste in language. [Fowler]
Extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story," with or without saints, wonders, and miracles is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1610s; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903. To be a legend in (one's) own time is from 1958.
c. 1300, saumple, "something which confirms a proposition or statement, an instance serving as an illustration" (a sense now obsolete in this word), from Anglo-French saumple, which is a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum "a sample," or a shortening of Middle English ensaumple (see example (n.)).
The meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (later usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c. The sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is by 1878; the sense in statistics, "a portion drawn from a population for study to make statistical estimates of the whole," is by 1903. As an adjective from 1820.
The word also was used in Middle English in many of the senses now only found in example, such as "an incident that teaches a lesson; a model of action or conduct to be imitated."
"pertaining to the Socratic method of assisting a person, by questions, to discover conceptions latent in his mind," 1650s, from Greek maieutikos, a figurative use in philosophy of a word meaning literally "obstetric," from maieuesthai "act as a midwife," from maia "midwife" (see Maia).
By putting leading questions on general or well-known facts, Socrates, by easy steps, to the surprise and delight of his subject, would bring him to the enunciation of some principle hitherto unknown or undeveloped in his mind. This is called his Maieutic: a term which Socrates himself suggested, likening his relation to the development and birth of ideas in the mind to that mid-wife office which his mother performed for the body. Both this feature and the illustration afforded fine material for jest to Aristophanes, who, in his usual comic way, proceeded to literalize the metaphor. [Samuel Ross Winans, "Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates," Boston: 1890]