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
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

norm, normal, par, standard

Synonyms: Adjective

intermediate, mean, median, medium, middle, middling, midsize (also midsized), moderate, modest

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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


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.


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.


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 ability of the membrane to get as thin and light as three grams per square meter (the average is usually 20 grams) allows the company to increase the durability of the face fabric, according to The North Face. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "The North Face's New Fabric Is Waterproof, Breathable, and Brought to You by Science," 8 Jan. 2019 Matador’s average well in the Permian’s Delaware Basin is on track to outperform forecasts in all three years the company provided them, according to the Journal’s analysis. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Fracking’s Secret Problem—Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast," 2 Jan. 2019 Sidewalk Labs suggests these new systems can improve recycling and composting, leading to 80 percent of waste being diverted (the current average is 27 percent in Toronto apartments). Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sidewalk Labs’s updated smart city plan aims for ‘people-first public realm’," 30 Nov. 2018 The five-year average for acres burned during that time frame was 18,587. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "The fires in California highlight — and worsen — the state’s income divide," 15 Nov. 2018 The country has the world’s third-highest rate of female homicides relative to all homicides (52.5 percent, the worldwide average is 22.2 percent). Shawn Musgrave, The Verge, "How ICE used an obscure rule to pursue the owners of a Korean porn site," 27 Sep. 2018 Not so coincidentally, the study shows that San Francisco County is also the one with the lowest percentage of kids in the United States, with just 15 percent of the population being under 19 years old (national average is 25.2 percent). Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Yes, Your Neighbor’s Age Could Affect Your Home’s Value," 11 Sep. 2018 When Cincinnati joined the league in 2016, the average was 3,439. Charlie Hatch, Cincinnati.com, "FC Cincinnati to celebrate 1 million fans in attendance through first 2.5 seasons," 14 July 2018 Currently the average is for tenants to move after 1 1/2 years. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Real estate expert talks about potential impact of rent control," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Of course there would be requirements, this isn’t your average job posting. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Need a Fresh Start in 2019? California Has an Opening for a Lighthouse Keeper," 8 Jan. 2019 The average American produces 4.48 pounds of trash per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and only 34% of that waste gets recycled. Alissa Katz, Good Housekeeping, "How to Dispose of Everything, Including Old Cell Phones, Mattresses, and Batteries," 8 Jan. 2019 In both cases, the average onlooker, confronted with only the offensive joke and none of the context, might be well within their rights to walk away confused or even angry. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why the Kevin Hart Oscars backlash is different from other recent public shamings," 5 Jan. 2019 Researchers have long recommended that high schools push back start times to be later in the morning, departing from the average 8 a.m. call time for class. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Why Schools Should Start Later and Teens Should Sleep More," 4 Jan. 2019 Politics Down Under may often be ridiculed as a below-average performer in terms of stability, but the episode left its mark. Rick Noack, The Seattle Times, "Australia tried its own government shutdown in 1975. The queen was not amused and it never happened again.," 2 Jan. 2019 Jung Lee feels a bit more like a trendy New York City loft than your average shop—an intentional choice made to showcase items in a more organic way. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Jung Lee's New York Store Is Filled With Unique Home Decor Finds," 1 Jan. 2019 To us, the average hunk of plastic looks about the same, other than the color. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 Benli can point out unique features the average tourist would miss—like the tortured faces of devils swirled into the green marble at Hagia Sophia. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Three Days In Istanbul," 28 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rogers, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard from Colorado,was an all-state player in high school, averaging 16 points, four assists,three rebounds and two steals a game at Evergreen (Colo.) High School. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Frog Tracks: Pebley gets extension; men's hoops adds three," 10 July 2018 With Stephen Curry sidelined for the first round against San Antonio with a knee injury, Livingston was a steadying force, averaging 9.4 points on 51.4 percent shooting. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Shaun Livingston: How Warriors guard peaked when it mattered most," 1 July 2018 Gorham came off the bench most of last season, averaging 9.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Towson forward Justin Gorham to transfer to UH," 26 June 2018 The 6-8 Baldwin burst onto the scene as a freshman, averaging 16.0 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists to help lead Hamilton to its first state appearance in 31 years. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "ESPN ranks Sussex Hamilton's Baldwin at No. 1 in Class of 2021 basketball rankings, and Washington's Foster is listed third," 22 June 2018 Black was Larkin’s third-leading scorer last season, averaging 8.1 points. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "Pierre Black ready and willing to take on larger role for Larkin boys basketball," 16 June 2018 Napier has played in 233 games in his career and averaged 5.7 points and 1.9 assists. Staff Report, courant.com, "Report: Former UConn Star Shabazz Napier Signs With Nets," 14 July 2018 After going undrafted in 2017, Campbell signed with the NBA G League's Lakeland Magic in January, playing in 20 games and averaging 6.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "Holy Cross' Antonio Campbell suffers summer league setback for Magic with ankle sprain," 13 July 2018 The last man picked in the 2011 NBA draft played for Malone in Sacramento during the 2013-14 season and averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists as the Kings went 28-54. Noel Harris, sacbee, "How Isaiah Thomas is reuniting with one of his former Kings coaches 1,200 miles away," 12 July 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


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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Statistics for average

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for average

The first known use of average was in 1746

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More Definitions for average



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, 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

What made you want to look up average? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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