model


model
model n Model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal, standard, beau ideal, mirror are comparable when they denote something set or held before one for guidance or imitation in conduct or endeavor.
Model applies to a person or thing set before one for imitation by oneself or another; the term may suggest nothing more
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art students painting the human figure from a model

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a child of three years old is a better model for a child one year old . . . because the things it does are more what the younger child would wish to do— Russell

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served as model for most of the State capitols built in the ensuing twenty-five years— Amer. Guide Series: Minn.

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Often the term applies to a person or thing that is eminently or even preeminently worthy of imitation
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there is no poet in any tongue . . . who stands so firmly as a model for all poets— T. S. Eliot

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the Saint whose name is given to a child serves as . . . an ideal model to be imitated— Nurnberg & Rosenblum

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Example applies chiefly to a person (or his acts or conduct) that is or may be imitated by others; the term usually implies that the person, or the act, or the conduct, for some good reason is one that is likely to be imitated, whether good or bad, right or wrong
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a father should set a good example to his children

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she always followed the example of her mother in her social behavior

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one of the immortal examples of a true man in a world of bounders, cowards, and squeaking specters— Sullivan

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Sometimes, however, example applies to what is not intended to be imitated, but rather to serve as a warning
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let it profit thee to have heard, by terrible example, the reward of disobedience— Milton

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Example is also used in a highly abstract sense in antithesis to precept, then implying the setting of an example, usually but not necessarily a good example
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the mistake of thinking that all can be done by precept, when . . . example is no less potent a force— Benson

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Pattern applies either to the divine archetype of a thing or to a carefully worked out design or plan (as an architect's drawing) to be followed in fashioning a thing
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according to an heavenly pattern . . . which He had fashioned in his wise foresight, He man did make— Spenser

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almost all the common things we use now . . . are made by machinery, and are copies of an original patternJevons

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In a more general sense (see also FIGURE 3) pattern applies to what merits or seems to merit imitation; it often differs from model in suggesting a more clearly worked out design, or a fuller presentation of details, or in connoting fixity or compelling power
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a housewife in bed, at table a slattern; for all an example, for no one a patternSwift

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the ancient pattern of life had been woven continuously for so many centuries that even illiterate farmers knew how to be courtly and dignified— Blofeld

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Exemplar often comes closer to pattern than to example because it usually applies to something set before one as worthy of imitation and, therefore, inherently good
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Christ is the ... exemplar that all preachers ought to follow— La timer

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dear ... as an exemplar of goodness, probity, and pure life— Thackeray

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Sometimes, however, exemplar is specifically applied to a person or thing that exhibits a quality, or sums up all the characteristics that distinguish a type, whether that quality or type be in itself good or bad
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Sisyphus, the legendary exemplar of cunning— Thirlwall

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Stendhal's Julian Sorel . . . this exemplar of ruthless individualism— Huxley

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Ideal may specifically imply existence not in the actual world but in the mind and therefore may suggest a remoteness from reality and especially perfection exceeding what is possible in reality
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traditions grew up around his name, to be interpreted according to the hearers' own ideals of personality and education— D. E. Smith

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But ideal also may apply to a real person or thing that is held before one as embodying or representing the perfection one hopes to realize or attain
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the boy found his ideal in his father

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[Livia] embodied in her life the ideal of the Roman matron— Buchan

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Frequently ideal is almost indistinguishable from standard when it applies not to a person or object that serves as a pattern or exemplar, but to something (as a rule, a practice, an aim, or an established level of excellence) by which one seeks to maintain a high quality in a product or of performance
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the ideal of general cultivation has been one of the standards in education— Eliot

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[accuracy] is still a noble and inspiring ideal. It is the morality of the intellect: it prescribes what it ought to strive for— Ballard

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each generation . . . has its own ideals and its own standards of judgment— Crothers

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But standard (see also STANDARD 2) is interchangeable with ideal only when it applies to what is the test of perfection or of human perfection
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the very art . . . incommensurable with any standard except that of pure beauty—I refer of course to the art of music— Dickinson

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with the spread of impressionism literature has lost standards and discipline, and at the same time virility and seriousness— Babbitt

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Beau ideal applies to one and especially a person felt to be a fit model or ideal because of high excellence
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the beau ideal of all that was romantic, exquisite, and passionate— Harrison Smith

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Mirror applies to something so exemplary of its kind that it may serve as a model
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no modern building could act as a better mirror of functional needs . . . than this seventeenth-century Spanish mission— Liturgical Arts

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Analogous words: criterion, touchstone, gauge, *standard

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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