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 positivity rate of diagnostic testing has fallen from a peak of 15.5% on Nov. 10 to an average of 4.1% in the seven days ending Jan. 28. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota rises to 12th in vaccine administration rate; provides 556,482 first doses," 8 Feb. 2021 Even without the large events, Louisiana has used a greater percentage of its vaccine doses than most other jurisdictions: 72% compared to the U.S. average of 63%. Emily Woodruff, NOLA.com, "Mass vaccinations in New Orleans? Not at the Superdome, Smoothie King Center," 6 Feb. 2021 Over the past two seasons, those three players — along with linebacker Devin White and the mammoth defensive tackle Vita Vea — have powered the Buccaneers to an average of just under three sacks a game. New York Times, "Tampa Bay’s Pass Rush Would Like Your Attention," 4 Feb. 2021 The decline has continued this week with a 23% drop to an average of 3,613 daily cases through Thursday. Randy Ludlow, The Enquirer, "Gov. Mike DeWine says more COVID-19 vaccine doses coming in February and March," 4 Feb. 2021 Union employment in the solar and wind industries is between 4% and 6%, close to the national average, compared with up to 12% in natural gas, nuclear, and coal, according to a report last year by the Energy Futures Initiative. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Why Kerry's claim on solar and wind jobs misses the mark," 2 Feb. 2021 September 2019: In an effort to strike a deal before the regular season began, the club upped that offer to an average of $33 million with a guarantee of close to $105 million. Dallas News, "Jimmy Johnson: Cowboys should’ve agreed to Dak Prescott’s contract demands last offseason," 2 Feb. 2021 The county is seeing an exceptionally high rate of new daily cases as well, tracking 179 on Tuesday — a stark contrast to the daily average of 10 cases in October. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Jan. 7-13," 21 Jan. 2021 Iowa has the next longest active streak of holding its opponents to an average of fewer than 20 points per game at five seasons. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "SEC Football by the Numbers: Alabama’s top 10 for 2020," 16 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Twitter had 192 million daily users, on average, in the third quarter, up 27% year-over-year. Barbara Ortutay, ajc, "Twitter posts strong Q4 results as user base, revenue jumps," 9 Feb. 2021 Research shows that in-home care costs around 50 percent less, on average, than care in a nursing home and eases the burden on a patient’s loved ones while allowing the patient to remain in a familiar setting. Jake Bittle, The New Republic, "Overworked, Underpaid, and Cutting Corners: The Crisis in Home Health Care," 9 Feb. 2021 On average, those states have managed to vaccinate less than 23% of their seniors. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Vaccination of elderly proceeds slowly: Most states have vaccinated fewer than a third," 8 Feb. 2021 Because this is a league of stars, and the biggest star of all is Brady, who looked like, well, like a guy who has gone to a Super Bowl, on average, every other year of his career. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Tom Brady just gets better with age with seventh Super Bowl victory," 8 Feb. 2021 Gas prices doubled then amid an energy crunch from 59 cents a gallon on average nationally in 1976 to $1.19 a gallon in 1980. Rich Exner, cleveland, "Donald Trump had worst jobs record for a president since before WWII; other benchmarks from the Dow to the Big Mac tell different stories for presidential records," 7 Feb. 2021 The number of Latino residents in L.A. County who are dying from COVID-19 daily — on average, over a two-week period — has skyrocketed: 40 deaths per 100,000 Latino residents. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. community clinic in hard-hit Latino neighborhood only gets 100 vaccines for its 12,000 patients," 6 Feb. 2021 On average, an Alazán household earns $8,796 a year and pays $131 in monthly rent, the housing authority said last year. Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News, "'We can't do this': How 501 public housing units in San Antonio were suddenly spared destruction," 6 Feb. 2021 Restricting the data to about 600 counties that had at least 100 daily cases at their recent peak shows that cases have fallen 60 percent on average. Lazaro Gamio, BostonGlobe.com, "US coronavirus cases are down but eclipse spring and summer peaks," 6 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Dolphins defense, which ranks 16th in the NFL allowing 355.2 yards per game, is second in scoring defense, allowing opponents to average 17.7 points, and with 21 turnovers forced this season. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Brian Flores, Dolphins turn page from Bengals dustup to next game against the Kansas City Chiefs," 7 Dec. 2020 The Packers average a league-leading 33 minutes, 8 seconds of possession time per game. ... Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "Colts vs. Packers TV, odds, injuries, trends, matchups," 18 Nov. 2020 The hams average 7 to 9 pounds and the turkeys from 12 to 14 pounds, so there’s plenty for hungry customers. Brayden Garcia, Dallas News, "Don’t want to cook for Thanksgiving? These Arlington restaurants have you covered," 17 Nov. 2020 The Mavericks normally average around 4,000 fans for home games. Star Tribune, "How the pandemic has rippled through Minnesota State Mankato's sports budget," 26 Oct. 2020 Murray, Barton, Millsap and Harris average a combined 56.2 points per game. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers have record night from three-point range, win 125-115 over Denver Nuggets: Game rewind," 7 Aug. 2020 Such protracted and expensive rescue efforts are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year. NBC News, "Nine workers found dead after 11 rescued weeks since China mine explosion," 25 Jan. 2021 Monthly electricity costs average $154, according to the finance website. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Little-known Georgia runoff election could play role in utility rates," 28 Dec. 2020 When injuries hit the backcourt, however, Holiday proved the better fit with the starting 5. Under Bjorkgren, Holiday will average more than 3.3 3-point shots per game. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Who'll benefit most on reimagined Indiana Pacers for 2020-21 season," 23 Dec. 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

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Average.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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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 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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