make an example (out) of (one)(redirected from make an example of someone)
make an example (out) of (one)
To punish one harshly so that others will avoid committing the same offense in order to avoid such punishment. The judge was known to make an example of certain criminals by handing out severe sentences. Miss Johnson made an example of out Timmy when he started talking during the presentation, and everybody else was dead silent afterward.
make an example of someone
to do something to someone that shows the bad results of bad behavior; to point to someone as a bad example. The judge said that he would make an example of Sally and would fine her the maximum amount. The teacher made an example of me to the class, with a detention on the first day of school.
make an example of
Punish someone so as to be a warning to others, as in The teacher made an example of the boy she caught cheating, or The judge imposed a tough sentence to make an example of the car thieves. This usage is first recorded in John Wycliffe's followers' translation of the Bible (c. 1382).