average

1 of 3

noun

av·​er·​age ˈa-v(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio)
1
a
: a single value (such as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values
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
: 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

average

2 of 3

adjective

1
: equaling an arithmetic mean
2
a
: being about midway between extremes
a man of average height
b
: not out of the ordinary : common
on an average day
the average person
averagely adverb
averageness noun

average

3 of 3

verb

averaged; averaging

intransitive verb

1
a
: to be or come to an average
The gain averaged out to 20 percent.
b
: to have a medial value of
colors that average to gray
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)
3
a
: 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
Phrases
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]

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.

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

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Fortune 500 CEOs spend an average of 4.5 years at the helm, compared to 7.2 years for men. Alan Murray, Fortune, 21 Feb. 2024 On the Central Coast, each grower has an average of 5.75 licenses, almost four times the average of 1.62 in the Emerald Triangle. Brad Branan, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Wyoming residents were only willing to give up 10 months, but those from Oregon would give up 5 years and 6 months, and Washingtonians had the fourth-highest average of 6 years and 2 months. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 21 Feb. 2024 Annual property tax bills would go up by an average of $524 under the proposal. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024 Our experts share that lip flips typically last an average of 2 to 4 months, while dermal fillers typically last 6 to 12 months (possibly longer, depending on the patient’s metabolism). Passport: Explore the finest destinations and experiences around the world in the Forbes Passport newsletter. Dahvi Shira, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 The figure was down 6% from 2019’s average of 1.79 million daily trips. Laura He, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 The average of the five judges’ scores went down as the individual dunk score. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 18 Feb. 2024 The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, increased by 3,750 to 212,250. Matt Ott, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024
Adjective
Last year, the average refund totaled $2,753, IRS data showed. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 The report goes on to say that: 64% rate their customer journey analytics as average or below, 64% rate their conversational analytics as average or below, 63% rate their speech analytics as average or below, and 63% rate their customer insight tool as average or below. Adrian Swinscoe, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The sharpest decrease occurred in September, when the average call time dropped from 9 minutes, 30 seconds in 2022 to 5 minutes, 50 seconds in 2023. John Aguilar, The Mercury News, 22 Feb. 2024 The latest storms have also brought enough rain to push the state’s total precipitation to slightly above average for this time of year. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Although for the average company, this looks like Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the office with Friday a work-from-home day, a small but growing number of influential companies are bucking the trend. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024 The average price to see Messi (home or away) is $275. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 The 95th Academy Awards snared an average audience of 18.7 million viewers, the Oscars’ best audience since the 2020 awards, which took place before the coronavirus pandemic that forced movie theaters to close and many Hollywood projects to be scuttled. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 22 Feb. 2024 Live Nation’s top 50 tours had 50% more international acts in 2023 than five years ago, and additional international dates meant tours had 15% more shows on average. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, 22 Feb. 2024
Verb
The Bruins limited Utah’s offense that averages 81.3 points per game to its second-lowest scoring night of the season. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2024 Stewart is in his fourth season with the Pistons, averaging 11 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 35 games played this season. Jacob Lev, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 At Northern Illinois, his offensive line was paramount in helping one of the nation’s best rushing attacks in the 2021 season — Northern Illinois averaged 241.1 yards per game. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Rudolph has brought the deep ball back to Pittsburgh and avoided Trubisky-like turnovers as the Steelers have averaged 32 points per game during his two starts. USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 In December alone, there were 76 incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft in Arizona, which averages about two occurrences a day. Brenna Gauchat, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 Other takeaways Ford awarded its hourly workers higher profit sharing checks averaging $10,416 despite being the target of a six-week UAW strike against the Detroit Three automakers. The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 Just as significantly, Miami is averaging just 11.3 turnovers per game over this 6-2 stretch, which would rank No. 1 in the league for the entire season. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 Summers are mild, with temperatures averaging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while winters are cold, with temperatures as low as 10 degrees. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'average.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of average was in 1746

Dictionary Entries Near average

Cite this Entry

“Average.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

average

1 of 3 noun
av·​er·​age ˈav-(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio)
1
2
: a level typical of a group, class, or series
their work is above the average
3
: a ratio of successful tries to total tries
batting average

average

2 of 3 adjective
1
: equaling or close to an arithmetic mean
2
: being ordinary or usual
the average person
an average day
averagely adverb
averageness noun

average

3 of 3 verb
averaged; averaging
1
: to amount to on the average
they average four feet in height
2
: to do or get usually
she averaged 40 miles a day
3
: to find the average of
average the grades

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