av·​er·​age | \ ˈa-v(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio) \

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
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]



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


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


averagely adverb
averageness noun

Synonyms for average

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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 The Dow Jones industrial average has gained about 45 percent since Trump took office, and fears of a recession have largely faded. Washington Post, "Economy adds 145,000 jobs in December as unemployment rate remains at 3.5 percent," 10 Jan. 2020 Stocks were poised to close at records Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping 230 points on de-escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Trump tweets 'How are your 409K's doing?' in apparent typo as Dow and S&P 500 hit intraday records," 9 Jan. 2020 Boeing is the single biggest component of the Dow Jones industrial average. Anchorage Daily News, "Iran crash presents embattled Boeing with new crisis," 8 Jan. 2020 While opposing teams have shot over 40% from long range 15 times -- a rather alarming number considering the league average is around 35.4% -- the Bucks have gone 11-4 in those games. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Spurs 126, Bucks 104: A five-game winning streak ends in a barrage of three-pointers," 6 Jan. 2020 The average of 665 feet, or ⅛ of a mile, between stops on Broadway is below national standards for high-frequency bus routes, the memo said. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Broadway is one of the city's main thoroughfares. Here's what to expect for its future," 2 Jan. 2020 The Dow Jones industrial average gained 22.3%, led by Apple. Alex Veiga, SFChronicle.com, "Wall Street closes out best year since 2013," 31 Dec. 2019 Waddle's average of 24.95 yards per return is the best in the nation, too. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Citrus Bowl by the numbers: Alabama vs. Michigan," 31 Dec. 2019 The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record 28,267.16 points on Dec. 17. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Will the U.S. economy steer clear of a recession in 2020?," 26 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Weather service meteorologists in northern Louisiana said that such a dire forecast for the area is only issued two to four times each year, on average. Washington Post, "Three dead in Louisiana as severe storms sweep southern US," 11 Jan. 2020 The average monthly electrical bill in Puerto Rico is $250. New York Times, "With Earthquakes and Storms, Puerto Rico’s Power Grid Can’t Catch a Break," 10 Jan. 2020 According to the Commerce Alliance, the regions that have suffered the most have seen a 30% decline in revenue on average, with Paris the most badly affected. Lindsey Tramuta, Fortune, "Business Owners in Paris Say French Pension Reform Strikes Have Been ‘Devastating’," 10 Jan. 2020 The islands, which, on average, are six and a half feet above sea level, now face another existential threat: rising seas, shifting weather patterns, and high temperatures associated with climate change. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change," 10 Jan. 2020 The students, on average, raised their reading performance by about three grade levels in half a school year. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Frank Gordon Jr. dead at 90," 9 Jan. 2020 While the workouts look deceptively simple, a recent study found that during a 20-minute kettlebell workout participants were burning off, on average, 20 calories a minute. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "Hate cold weather? Stay fit (and warm) and have some fun with these indoor workouts.," 9 Jan. 2020 On average, West Chester Township officials will end the year spending about 15.8 percent less than what was budgeted. Cincinnati.com, "West Chester Township ends year under budget," 8 Jan. 2020 Because the debt is bought in large portfolios, RIP Medical spokesperson Daniel Lempert told CBS News that on average, every $1 donated relieves $100 worth of medical debt. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young wipes out more than $1 million of medical debt for residents," 8 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As a freshman, Anthony Edwards has led Georgia in scoring all season, averaging 18.7 points a game. Giana Han, al, "Confidence proves to be critical for Auburn’s success against Georgia," 12 Jan. 2020 Oturu, who entered the game averaging 19.3 points, was unstoppable. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball loses at Minnesota, remains winless in road games," 12 Jan. 2020 Louisville currently holds opponents to 57 points per game, third in the ACC, and Wake Forest averages 69.9 points per game, eighth in the ACC. Kelly Ward, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville women's basketball welcomes Wake Forest into town Sunday," 11 Jan. 2020 In China, the groom’s family is expected to buy a house for the new couple and give the bride’s family a dowry that averages US$20,000. Wei Li, The Conversation, "Matching Vietnamese brides with Chinese men, marriage brokers find good business – and sometimes love," 10 Jan. 2020 Some taxpayers like to file their returns as early as possible to get their refunds, which averaged about $2,800 last year, according to IRS data. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "January 27 is the first day you can file your taxes, IRS says," 7 Jan. 2020 On December 17th, maximum temperatures across the entire country, which is roughly the size of the continental United States, averaged 105.6 degrees. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "What Will Another Decade of Climate Crisis Bring?," 5 Jan. 2020 On average, male Steller sea lions weigh a whopping 1,200 pounds, while females average in at around 580 pounds. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Sea Lions Steal Small Vessel, Don't Care at All," 3 Jan. 2020 Compton’s pilots had averaged 9.4 hours of flight time in one month, and his weapon systems officers just 3.7 hours. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines," 2 Jan. 2020

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


1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1769, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for average

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for average

Time Traveler

The first known use of average was in 1746

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Statistics for average

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Average.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for average


How to pronounce average (audio)

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



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



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

: to have (a specified number) as an average
: to calculate the average of (something)


av·​er·​age | \ ˈa-və-rij How to pronounce average (audio) , 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.



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


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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to express in a more acceptable way

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