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

Miscellany Golden Knights give Fluery three-year deal The Golden Knights agreed to terms with Marc-Andre Fleury, the three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie, on a three-year contract extension worth an average of $7 million a year. BostonGlobe.com, "Knee surgery scheduled for Lonzo Ball," 14 July 2018 Monthly outflows surged to more than 35 percent above historical averages for July, August, October and November. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 Opposition also came from carryout and delivery businesses, which have lower check averages and profit margins. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "More eateries, businesses do away with plastic straws," 13 July 2018 In the past 18 months, the S&P 500 index has returned an average -0.3%, including dividend payouts, on days with shock announcements on trade. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Xiaomi Defies Skeptics to Rally in Opening Week," 13 July 2018 The shortstop boasted a .519 batting average as a junior this year, racking up 50 RBIs, 30 runs and six home runs. Jason Mcdaniel, Houston Chronicle, "High school notebook: Hastings PG Tatiyanna Riley competes in all-star game," 13 July 2018 That’s an average of 1.6 straws per person, and a tremendous amount of waste that builds up in our landfills and clogs our oceans. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "A splash of cold water on straw-ban fervor: Many people with disabilities need them," 13 July 2018 The decline in local states exceeded the national average, with prescriptions down 35 percent in Pennsylvania, and 41 percent in New Jersey. Aubrey Whelan, Philly.com, "Independence Blue Cross reports dramatic drop in opioid prescriptions among members," 13 July 2018 Today the share of state spending that goes on public pensions averages 8.2% of GDP across the OECD. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In a country that is among the world’s top consumers of sugary drinks, Chiapas is a champion: Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than half a gallon of soda a day. Oscar Lopez, BostonGlobe.com, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 Market Track, an ad and pricing analysis firm, says during last year's Amazon Prime Day, items available only via Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa were on average 33 percent off their everyday price. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Shopping with Alexa on Amazon Prime day will be hard. These tricks make it easier," 13 July 2018 On average, as the median voter in OECD countries ages by one year, the share of GDP spent on pensions increases by 0.25 percentage points. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 The study contends that restricting circulation by such an amount — 7.5% on average, according to the research — could have fatal implications for someone with high blood pressure. Laura Newberry, latimes.com, "Citing health study, Lancaster mayor wants to ban workplace necktie requirements for city employees," 12 July 2018 To be sure, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in aggregate and on average made more money than other groups, though the report noted that education and income varied widely among sub-groups. NBC News, "Asian Americans now most economically divided group in U.S., report finds," 12 July 2018 Duke says the inspections take 10 minutes on average. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "City wins appeal in public records lawsuit," 12 July 2018 Of those workers, four made more than $160,000 with overtime, including Bradley Thiede, a correctional officer at Redgranite Correctional Institution in Waushara County, who earned $175,000 in 2017 by working 95 hours a week on average. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP leaders say wage increases not on table despite Wisconsin prison overtime costs, staffing shortage," 12 July 2018 On average, excessive heat causes more than 1,500 death per year in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Max Londberg, kansascity, "KC hits 100 degrees for first time in years, but cooler temps coming, meteorologist says," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hurt, who averaged 18 points and seven rebounds in those two contests, is focusing on his team's three weeks of games before trimming that list of schools at the end of the month. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "He has local ties, but U of L faces tough competition for Matthew Hurt," 14 July 2018 When a report surfaced the Magic were negotiating with a former two-time All-Star who averaged 28.9 points per game during the 2016-17 season, the fans had reason to be excited. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic Mailbag: What’s the deal with Orlando’s point guard situation?," 12 July 2018 Last season, his first with the Washington Wizards , Scott was a steady backup forward who averaged 8.8 points on 52.7 percent shooting, including 40.5 percent from 3-point range. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (July 2): Wayne Rooney on joining D.C. United: 'I'm here to win'," 3 July 2018 Senne said of Dublinski, who has averaged more than 100 DUI arrests the last two years. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin police tallied more DUI arrests than any other suburb in 2017, new survey says," 29 June 2018 Before the launch, the city was averaging roughly 60 pay corrections a month. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Nine months into new software system, Anchorage city government’s payroll problems persist," 28 June 2018 Williams, who averaged 13.2 points and 9.3 rebounds as a senior for the Horned Frogs, went undrafted in last week's NBA draft. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "TCU's Kenrich Williams joins Denver Nuggets' summer league roster," 25 June 2018 Stewart, who averaged 11.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in his senior season with the Trojans, is praised for his ability to shoot the 3-pointer. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs target Villanova’s Spellman, others for workouts," 14 June 2018 At the same time, Green, who averaged 11 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists in his sixth season, has an invaluable ally in head coach Steve Kerr. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "A dynasty secured," 13 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

20 Oct 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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