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noun av·er·age \ˈa-v(ə-)rij\

Simple Definition of average

  • : a number that is calculated by adding quantities together and then dividing the total by the number of quantities

  • : a level that is typical of a group, class, or series : a middle point between extremes

Full Definition of average

  1. 1 a :  a single value (as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values b :  mean 1b

  2. 2 a :  an estimation of or approximation to an arithmetic mean b :  a level (as of intelligence) typical of a group, class, or series <above the average>

  3. 3 :  a ratio expressing the average performance especially of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance

on average or on the average
  1. :  taking the typical example of the group under consideration <prices have increased on average by five percent>

Examples of average

  1. The average of 16, 8, and 6 is 10.

  2. Take all these temperatures and find their average.

  3. An average of 2,000 people attended the show each night.

  4. Prices have increased on average about eight percent.

  5. On average, women live longer than men.

  6. His work has been above the average.

Origin of average

from earlier average proportionally distributed charge for damage at sea, modification of Middle French avarie damage to ship or cargo, from Old Italian avaria, from Arabic ʽawārīya damaged merchandise

First Known Use: 1732

Synonym Discussion of average

average, mean, median, norm mean something that represents a middle point. average is the quotient obtained by dividing the sum total of a set of figures by the number of figures <scored an average of 85 on tests>. mean may be the simple average or it may represent value midway between two extremes <a high of 70° and a low of 50° give a mean of 60°>. median applies to the value that represents the point at which there are as many instances above as there are below <average of a group of persons earning 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10 dollars an hour is 6 dollars, whereas the median is 5 dollars>. norm means the average of performance of a significantly large group, class, or grade <scores about the norm for fifth grade arithmetic>.

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms



adjective av·er·age

Simple Definition of average

  • : calculated by adding quantities together and then dividing by the number of quantities

  • : ordinary or usual

  • : not unusually large or small

Full Definition of average

  1. 1 :  equaling an arithmetic mean

  2. 2 a :  being about midway between extremes <a man of average height> b :  not out of the ordinary :  common <the average person>

av·er·age·ly adverb
av·er·age·ness noun

Examples of average

  1. Take all these temperatures and find their average temperature.

  2. The investment had a higher average return.

  3. The average age of the company's employees is 36.

  4. The average woman lives longer than the average man.

  5. Do you know what the average person earns?

  6. the average American family buyer

  7. Sales were about average for the industry on the whole.

  8. Average grades are not good enough to get you into graduate school.

  9. She was an average student.

  10. She thought the performance was just average.


First Known Use of average


Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms



verb av·er·age

Simple Definition of average

  • : to have (a specified number) as an average

  • : to calculate the average of (something)

Full Definition of average


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to be or come to an average <the gain averaged out to 20 percent> b :  to have a medial value of <a color averaging a pale purple>

  3. 2 :  to buy on a falling market or sell on a rising market additional shares or commodities so as to obtain a more favorable average price —usually used with down or up

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1 :  to do, get, or have on the average or as an average sum or quantity <averages 12 hours of work a day>

  6. 2 :  to find the arithmetic mean of (a series of unequal quantities)

  7. 3 a :  to bring toward the average b :  to divide among a number proportionately

Examples of average

  1. The teacher averaged the students' grades.

  2. What figure do you get when you average the amount of rainfall for the last three months?


First Known Use of average


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February 9, 2016

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