The Abbreviation for Example: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

Are you looking for the abbreviation of the word example? We’ll dive into the meaning of the word, its history, and its synonyms. We’ll also look at abbreviations and give examples where they are used instead of the whole word.

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What Is the Abbreviation?

There is one common abbreviation for the word example, derived from the Latin words exempli gratia:

  • e.g.


Example

Noun

In English, the abbreviation e.g. would be used to replace the phrase “for example.” 

It’s one of the most commonly used abbreviations, and is often confused with Latin phrase id est (i.e.), which means “in other words.” The phrase id est may also mean “that is.”

The abbreviation is used to introduce examples of something mentioned previously.

For instance:

That was a classic case of theft. The thieves carried away all the electronics, e.g.,  radios, phones, and laptops.

It can be used interchangeably with “for example” and “such as.”

For instance:

There is a widespread belief that junk food causes lifestyle diseases, e.g., heart failure and obesity.

This abbreviation can be used in informal documents and headlines. It’s used in high-speed writing instead of the whole phrase. Remember to include the periods after both e and g.

It’s more appropriate to write “for example” in formal communications.

For instance:

The doctor brought with him some official documents, for example, notes, prescriptions, and articles.

Capitalize the first letter of Latin term when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

 E.g. is written with a comma before and after, when it appears mid-sentence. 

For instance:

The child had various items in his rucksack, e.g., books, a water bottle, a ruler, and an eraser.

It’s not appropriate to add et cetera (etc.) at the end of a list with e.g.

Incorrect: When shopping for Christmas, remember to buy gifts, e.g., chocolate, cards, flowers, etc. 

What Is the Meaning of the Word?

There are various definitions of the word example. According to Dictionary.com, the word means:

noun

1. one of a number of things, or a part of something, taken to show the character of the whole:

2. a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided:

3. an instance serving for illustration; specimen:

4. an instance illustrating a rule or method, as a mathematical problem proposed for solution.

5. an instance, especially of punishment, serving as a warning to others:

6. a precedent; parallel case:

verb (used with object), ex·am·pled, ex·am·pling.

1. Rare. to give or be an example of; 

The History and Origin of the Word

Example first appeared as an English word in the late 14th century. It was a  re-Latinization of the earlier English word essample, which came to English by way of the Old French essemple, “sample, model, example.” The new spelling brought the word closer to the original Latin spelling of exemplum.

The use of lowercase e.g. as the abbreviated form of the Latin phrase exempli gratia dates back to the 1680’s. The Latin abbreviation was used in place of the phrase, “for the sake of example.”

Synonyms for Example

  • case
  • exemplar
  • exemplification
  • illustration
  • instance
  • prototype
  • representative
  • sample
  • specimen
  • model


Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

“Take, by way of example, Thomas Edison. The famed American inventor rose to prominence in the late 19th century because of his successes, yes, but even he felt that these successes were the result of his many failures.”
—InternationalStudent.com

“For example, businesses that took on too much risk could receive taxpayer-funded bailouts.”
—The Balance

“When you get in those types of situations that he was in, you have to make some difficult choices, and I think he made the right one,’ Earnhardt told reporters on Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. ‘I feel like that a lot of people can learn from that. I think he set an amazing example for a lot of young folks to follow.”
—ESPN

“For example, high self-control might prevent employees from fully enjoying positive career outcomes, such as promotions, raises, and outstanding performance appraisals.”
—Harvard Business Review

“The top five risks by likelihood over the next 10 years include: extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, etc.); failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; major natural disasters (e.g. earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, geomagnetic storms); major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; and human-made environmental damage and disasters.”
—SDG Knowledge Hub

Sources:

  1. https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/25/e-g-i-e/
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/example
  3. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/example?s=t
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=example&source=ds_search
  5. https://www.etymonline.com/word/e.g.#etymonline_v_32102
  6. https://sdg.iisd.org/news/environmental-hazards-feature-in-2020-global-risk-report/
  7. https://hbr.org/2020/01/the-dark-side-of-self-control
  8. https://www.espn.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/33233/dale-earnhardt-jr-luke-kuechly-set-amazing-example-with-decision
  9. https://www.thebalance.com/mixed-economy-definition-pros-cons-examples-3305594
  10. https://www.internationalstudent.com/essay_writing/essay_tips/