make an example of somebody

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.
See also: example, make, of

make an eˈxample of somebody

punish somebody severely for a mistake, crime, etc. so that others will be less likely to do wrong: The judge decided to make an example of the leaders of the riot in order to prevent other disturbances.
See also: example, make, of, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
"It says 'Restricted Area--Keep Out.' Are y'all dumb?" The water guy told us they needed to make an example of somebody and we were that group.