average

noun
av·er·age | \ ˈa-v(ə-)rij \

Definition of average 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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

b : mean sense 1b

2a : 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 : a ratio expressing the average performance especially of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance a batting average

on average or on the average

: taking the typical example of the group under consideration Prices have increased on average by five percent. [=the average increase has been five percent]

average

adjective

Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : equaling an arithmetic mean

2a : being about midway between extremes a man of average height

b : not out of the ordinary : common on an average day the average person

average

verb
averaged; averaging

Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : 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

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

transitive verb

1 : to do, get, or have on the average or as an average sum or quantity averages 12 hours of work a day

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

3a : to bring toward the average

b : to divide among a number according to a size, number, or amount that is directly related to or appropriate for something average a loss

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Other words from average

Adjective

averagely adverb
averageness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for average

Noun

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

Did You Know?

The word average came into English from Middle French avarie, a derivative of an Arabic word meaning “damaged merchandise.” Avarie originally meant damage sustained by a ship or its cargo, but came to mean the expenses of such damage. When the English borrowed the word, they altered it to conform to the pattern of words ending in -age. When a ship or its cargo was damaged at sea, the owners or insurers shared the expense, or average. An average-adjuster determined a division of costs among them. An average then became any equal distribution or division, like the determination of an arithmetic mean. Soon the arithmetic mean itself was called an average. Now the word may be applied to any mean or middle value or level.

Examples of average in a Sentence

Noun

The average of 16, 8, and 6 is 10. Take all these temperatures and find their average. An average of 2,000 people attended the show each night. Prices have increased on average about eight percent. On average, women live longer than men. His work has been above the average.

Adjective

Take all these temperatures and find their average temperature. The investment had a higher average return. The average age of the company's employees is 36. The average woman lives longer than the average man. Do you know what the average person earns? the average American family buyer Sales were about average for the industry on the whole. Average grades are not good enough to get you into graduate school. She was an average student. She thought the performance was just average.

Verb

The teacher averaged the students' grades. What figure do you get when you average the amount of rainfall for the last three months?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on cleanups thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, the report said. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Cleanups at Pence family's failed gas stations costing taxpayers millions: report," 14 July 2018 Between June 2003 and May 2008, only 58 calls were lodged with APHIS, an average of 11 calls per year. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 Partners at Latham, which counts such clients as Citibank and American Airlines , earn an average of more than $3 million a year. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "The Sexting Scandal That Toppled One of America’s Most Powerful Lawyers," 13 July 2018 With nurse assistants earning an average of $13.23 an hour in 2017, nursing homes compete for workers not only with better-paying employers like hospitals, but also with retailers. Jordan Rau, Washington Post, "‘Like A Ghost Town’: Erratic Nursing Home Staffing Revealed Through New Records," 13 July 2018 Of 275 of those claims, 16 were paid an average of $345 each and 10 were under investigation. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 Children spend an average of 57 days in shelters before they're placed with a sponsor. Colleen Long, chicagotribune.com, "Trump administration says eligible migrant children reunited with families, but some parents already deported," 12 July 2018 Eliminating the tax could increase food stores to an average of 37 days from 26, according to a survey that the food association conducted of its members in February. Frances Robles, New York Times, "FEMA Was Sorely Unprepared for Puerto Rico Hurricane, Report Says," 12 July 2018 Of the roughly 25,000 Milwaukee children tested for lead annually, an average of 3,000 come back with elevated lead levels. Ahmed Elbenni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mayor Tom Barrett has nominated a new Health Department commissioner. Here are the problems facing the agency," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

More than 437,000 children were in foster care in 2016, and on average, a child waits nearly two years for placement, according to the HHS Administration for Children and Family. NBC News, "House Republicans advance adoption amendment critics say is 'anti-LGBTQ'," 12 July 2018 The average number of fires year-to-date from 2008 to 2017 is 34,371, with 2,834,688 acres burned, the center said. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Wildfires spread across West, including one so large it can be seen from space," 11 July 2018 The average cost of installing a system in Charlotte is $16,200, according to estimates by EnergySage. Cassie Cope, charlotteobserver, "This new solar panel program lets residents, businesses save thousands of dollars," 10 July 2018 Sockeye harvest levels at Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula also are running well below average. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "For Alaska sockeye salmon, record highs in Bristol Bay, record lows nearly everywhere else," 9 July 2018 The average maximum ticket costs a driver $845, up 14 percent from 2015. Fortune, "Speeding in These States Will Cost You a Fortune," 6 July 2018 In Indiana, for example, the average annual cost of infant care is $8,918 — a sum that only 29.2 percent of families in the state can afford, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "People Aren’t Having Kids Because It’s Way Too Expensive," 5 July 2018 Meanwhile, the agency said the average cost of placing someone in an alternative program is $4.50 per day. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The Trump administration says it must lock up families to keep them together. That’s not true.," 2 July 2018 Take a look at the league average numbers, alongside Brantley’s present stats: Brantley’s skill set is an anomaly in today’s game, and becoming more so all the time. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: Solving the Yankees' Sonny Gray Problem, AL East Deciding Factors and Our Favorite Statcast Quirks," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

North Slope production in fiscal 2017 averaged 526,500 barrels per day, making for a decline of about 0.9 percent. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Despite slight production dip, Alaska oil revenue grows in FY18," 13 July 2018 Since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, net migration from the country has averaged around 17,000 people. Sean Gregory, Time, "32 Teams Entered, 2 Remain. Your Ultimate Guide to the World Cup Final," 13 July 2018 Popular lamb dishes are in the $26-$32 range, steaks from $27-$75, and Authentic Old World dishes average around $20. Joan Cary, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Basil’s Greek Dining in Aurora," 8 July 2018 Each domain accounts for a host of factors, such as weapon imports and political stability, to give each nation three scores that average for the overall composite, according to the index's methodology. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 10 Safest Countries in the World," 5 July 2018 Senior Maurion Scott averaged six rebounds and 3.3 assists last season. Steve Millar, Daily Southtown, "Comfort zone: Issac Stanback has big dreams for second season at Homewood-Flossmoor," 27 June 2018 In our tests, HMA Pro 4 averaged a little more than 40 percent of the base speed across five locations around the world. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Hide My Ass Pro 4 review: A noticeable upgrade with great speeds," 27 June 2018 Though five home matches, the Pride are averaging 5,103 fans per game, a drop from the 6,186 fans per game that came out last season. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris: It’s time to show some support for women’s team," 25 June 2018 Vietnam has averaged economic growth of 6.3 percent between 2005 and 2017, multiplying its per capita income six-fold to $2,385 last year from $396 in 2000, according to data from General Statistics Office in Hanoi. John Boudreau, Bloomberg.com, "In Vietnam, Discontent Lurks Under Surface of Economic Success," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'average.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of average

Noun

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1769, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for average

Noun

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

Adjective

see average entry 1

Verb

see average entry 1

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Learn More about average

Statistics for average

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for average

The first known use of average was in 1746

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More Definitions for average

average

noun

English Language Learners Definition of average

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

average

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

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

: ordinary or usual

: not unusually large or small

average

verb

English Language Learners Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

: to have (a specified number) as an average

: to calculate the average of (something)

average

noun
av·er·age | \ ˈa-və-rij , ˈav-rij \

Kids Definition of average

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a number that is calculated by adding quantities together and dividing the total by the number of quantities : arithmetic mean An average of 20 students are in each class.

2 : something usual in a group, class, or series His grades have been better than average.

average

adjective

Kids Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : equaling or coming close to an average The average age of students in my class is eleven.

2 : being ordinary or usual the average person

average

verb
averaged; averaging

Kids Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to amount to usually We averaged ten miles a day.

2 : to find the average of Our teacher averaged our test scores.

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Comments on average

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