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 And residents have rates of tuberculosis that are eight times higher than the national average, at 25 per 100,000, as compared with 3 per 100,000 nationally. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In CA: Cuts, deferrals and delays to cut the budget by $54.3 billion," 15 May 2020 On May 14, 2012, Obama's job approval rating hit 48%, with Trump on Thursday reaching 45.5%, according to the RealClearPolitics national average. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Despite crises, Trump polling is nearly right where Obama's was at the same moment in 2012," 15 May 2020 Unemployment in the state, which began the year at a near-record low, surged above the national average in March as jobless claims hit record highs. Chris Martin, Bloomberg.com, "Hot U.S. Solar Market Fizzles, an Unlikely Oil-Bust Casualty," 13 May 2020 That’s higher than the national average of 58% of poll workers being ages 61 and older, according to the Pew Research Center. al, "Sneeze guards and sanitizer: Alabama election officials prepare for July 14 runoff," 12 May 2020 The grants are part of a federal initiative to increase federal law enforcement resources in seven cities with violent crime levels several times that of the national average. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Federal grant will fund 30 officers in Milwaukee Police Department," 12 May 2020 The city’s unemployment rate hovered around 8% — higher than the national average. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can," 11 May 2020 The average benefit, $338 a week, is below the national average of $378. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, "How to lure back California workers making more on unemployment than they did on the job," 9 May 2020 Despite the drop of 32 points since the beginning of the year, Texas still ranks higher than the national average of 84.33, the company said. Amanda Drane, Houston Chronicle, "Texas consumer confidence slips but remains higher than average, data shows," 8 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Even after cutting service by more than 95%, the average flight was only 9% full. Washington Post, "Retailers face reckoning as April’s sales drop sets a record," 16 May 2020 The employers would have been much better off substituting in average performers for the toxic stars. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Michael Jordan: N.B.A. Champ, Marketing Legend and … Toxic Worker?," 16 May 2020 America has increased unemployment benefits by $600 per person per week, almost trebling the average payout. The Economist, "Re-open and shut When lockdowns end, governments will have to free labour markets," 16 May 2020 Perhaps crucially for the Bundesliga, which has the highest average attendance of any soccer league in the world, the stadiums will have no fans for the remaining nine games of the season. NBC News, "Soccer kicks off in Germany as first major sports league reopens amid pandemic," 16 May 2020 Last year, the 45219 ZIP Code was ranked the fourth priciest rent area in all of Ohio by RentCafe with an average rent of $1,523. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "No rent deals for UC students: 'Wish they would be a little bit more forgiving.'," 15 May 2020 Researchers from Imperial College London predict there will be 7,790 deaths this week, the second highest in the world after the U.S. The country’s reproduction number or R rate, the average infected by each person with the virus, stands at 2. Time, "'We Are Not Even Close to Our Peak Yet.' Brazil Risks Being Overwhelmed by Coronavirus Outbreak," 15 May 2020 Sea surface temperatures continue to remain above average across the Atlantic -- except for the cooler North Atlantic. Allison Chinchar, CNN, "Arthur, the first named storm of the hurricane season, is likely to form today or tomorrow," 15 May 2020 And given their specialized nature, such tests would also likely be too expensive for the average business. Lina Zeldovich/undark, Popular Science, "COVID-19 surface tests can’t make public spaces safe just yet," 15 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For example, the S&P 500 has averaged annual returns of close to 10% over many decades, but that’s a nominal average. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Now’s a good time to focus on Big Pharma dividends," 17 May 2020 Maryland averaged 4,265 tests per day this week, compared with about 4,900 the previous week. Matthew Perrone, Time, "As Parts of the U.S. Reopen, Most States Fall Short of Expert-Approved Coronavirus Testing Levels," 16 May 2020 Maryland averaged 4,265 tests per day this week, compared with about 4,900 the previous week. Matthew Perrone, Brian Witte And Nicky Forster, Houston Chronicle, "Most US states fall short of recommended testing levels," 16 May 2020 The retail price for a gallon of milk averaged $3.27 in April, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eric Litke, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Payments to dairy farmers drop even as retail milk prices rise," 15 May 2020 Teams averaged 31,256 fans per game before the strike and did not reach that level again for 12 years. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "M.L.B.’s Efforts to Return to the Field Could Take the Game Back to 1994," 15 May 2020 The 6-foot-8 standout averaged a near double-double at 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game despite playing in an offense where the guards have been the primary focus offensively. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Former ASU basketball standout Romello White transfers to Mississippi," 15 May 2020 Hardman made the announcement via Twitter and Instagram Wednesday night The 6-foot-5 Hardman averaged 12.1 points per game his sophomore season, shooting 45.9% from the field, 38.5% from the perimeter and 95.7% from the free-throw line. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Princeton shooting guard Bowen Hardman commits to Ohio State," 14 May 2020 Hilton has averaged 69 catches for 1,075 yards and 5.6 touchdowns over his first eight seasons. Nat Newell, The Indianapolis Star, "Why the Colts should pay T.Y. Hilton," 14 May 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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Average.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 1 Jun. 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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