example (n.)

late 14c., "an instance typical of a class; a model, either good or bad, action or conduct as an object of imitation; an example to be avoided; punishment as a warning," partial re-Latinization of earlier essample, asaumple (mid-13c.), from Old French essemple "sample, model, example, precedent, cautionary tale," from Latin exemplum "a sample, specimen; image, portrait; pattern, model, precedent; a warning example, one that serves as a warning," literally "that which is taken out," from eximere "remove, take out, take away; free, release, deliver, make an exception of," from ex "out" (see ex-) + emere "buy," originally "take," from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute." 

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Definitions of example from WordNet

example (n.)
an item of information that is typical of a class or group;
there is an example on page 10
this patient provides a typical example of the syndrome
example (n.)
a representative form or pattern;
I profited from his example
Synonyms: model
example (n.)
something to be imitated;
Synonyms: exemplar / model / good example
example (n.)
punishment intended as a warning to others;
they decided to make an example of him
Synonyms: deterrent example / lesson / object lesson
example (n.)
an occurrence of something;
but there is always the famous example of the Smiths
Synonyms: case / instance
example (n.)
a task performed or problem solved in order to develop skill or understanding;
you must work the examples at the end of each chapter in the textbook
Synonyms: exercise