Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


\PAIR-uh-gon; -guhn\ , noun;
A model of excellence or perfection; as, "a paragon of beauty; a paragon of eloquence."
Even his friends and business associates, men and women alike, were paragons of health: avoiders of fatty foods, moderate drinkers, health-club habitues, lovers of cross-country skiing, weekend canoe trips, and daylong hikes in the North Woods.
-- Alvin Greenberg, How the Dead Live
Voters, if they chose, could easily convince themselves that the people running their government were faithful spouses and temperate drinkers, paragons whose public images were in perfect accord with their private behavior.
-- Gail Collins, Scorpion Tongues
Paragon comes from Middle French, from Old Italian paragone, literally, "touchstone," from paragonare, "to test on a touchstone," from Greek parakonan, "to rub against, to sharpen," from para-, "beside" + akone, "a whetstone."
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