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set an example

Also, set a good or bad example. Behave in a way that should (or will) be imitated, as in Dad was always telling Bill to set a good example for his younger brother, or They were afraid of setting a bad example for the other nations. [ Late 1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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