average

noun
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]

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

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

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

Beyond averages, top technology executives at very large firms can earn salaries in the millions. Angus Loten, WSJ, "It Is the Year of More for CIOs: Pay, Workload and Influence Are on the Rise," 25 Feb. 2019 In May 2017, months before the tour ended, Variety reported that Grande was making an average of almost $630,000 per night, with over $50,000 of that coming from merch. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ariana Grande Is All About Her Money in "7 Rings." Here's Where She Gets It All From.," 19 Jan. 2019 Strong level design helps too, with longer-than-average, HD-wide stages that continually throw new and interesting challenges and enemies at Mega Man. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Entertainment Tonight averages about 5 million viewers a night, but its online counterpart reaches as many as 20 million unique visitors a month, according to TechCrunch. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "CBS is launching a standalone streaming network for entertainment news," 31 Oct. 2018 That's an average of 17,003 times per day, giving rise to a new form of activism spearheaded through social media and technology. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump visits Queen Elizabeth II, Wimbledon semifinals, Supermoon Solar Eclipse: 5 things to know Friday," 13 July 2018 Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on the cleanup thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, according an analysis of records by The Associated Press. Brian Slodysko, The Courier-Journal, "Cleanup of Pence family's failed gas stations cost Indiana taxpayers $20M," 13 July 2018 Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on the cleanup thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, according an analysis of records by The Associated Press. Brian Slodysko, Houston Chronicle, "Pence family gas stations left costly environmental legacy," 13 July 2018 Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on the cleanup thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, according an analysis of records by The Associated Press. Brian Slodysko, chicagotribune.com, "Cleanup of Pence family gas stations cost Indiana more than $20 million," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On average, the Marshalls sit about 6.5 feet above sea level. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "To Save Themselves from Sea Level Rise, the Marshall Islands Want to Raise the Land," 26 Feb. 2019 Trump’s judicial nominees have been younger, whiter, and more likely to be male, on average, than those offered up by President Barack Obama, according to a Washington Post analysis. Li Zhou, Vox, "Republican Sen. Tim Scott sinks Trump judicial nominee tied to voter suppression efforts," 29 Nov. 2018 On average, about 70 to 80 percent of eggs that are retrieved are mature. Horacio Salinas, Allure, "The Rise of Egg Freezing as a Fertility Choice," 15 Oct. 2018 The mower’s price tag of approximately $900 is about twice that of the average residential walk mower, yes. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Cub Cadet CC 600 Is a Walk-Behind Lawn Mower That Means Business," 5 Mar. 2019 Typically though, Rick points out, the average total ends up being between $500 and $800. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "How to Install a Wood-Burning Stove," 28 Feb. 2019 All 30 teams are on pace to average at least 100 points per game this season. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "The NBA playoff push starts now with All-Star break ending," 20 Feb. 2019 The international community has agreed, most recently in the Paris climate accord, to try to limit the rise in global average temperature to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, with efforts to keep it to 1.5 degrees. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019 On average the credit card buyers bid more than twice as much as the cash buyers. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Output per hour of nonfarm business sector workers grew at a 1.9% annual rate in the fourth quarter and registered the strongest nine-month stretch of growth between April and December since 2010, averaging 2.2% growth during that period last year. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "Productivity Growth Shows Signs of Long-Awaited Strength," 7 Mar. 2019 With that in mind, Juul decided to pay each employee something of an absurd holiday bonus — averaging out to more than $1 million each — to boost morale internally, according to a person close to the deal. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "In an extraordinary move, Juul is trying to make peace with its investors and employees by paying them more than $4 billion," 21 Dec. 2018 Extremely athletic and agile, Reese can handle the ball and averaged 3.1 assists as a sophomore for the No. Katherine Dunn, baltimoresun.com, "After missing cut for U.S. team, St. Frances star Angel Reese plans more hoops, closer look at big offers," 14 July 2018 During Kelly’s four seasons at Oregon, the Ducks averaged more than 284 yards per game rushing while producing a 1,000-yard rusher during each of those seasons. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "New coach Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins are No. 45 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 13 July 2018 Here’s the same chart but with the data averaged over the past 12 months so there aren’t seasonal swings. Rani Molla, Recode, "SodaStream’s path to its $3.2 billion Pepsi deal," 20 Aug. 2018 At prices averaging $1,300 per ounce, those projections jump to a 26 percent return and a net present value of $239 million. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Interior gold mine gets new life, $100M expansion," 17 June 2018 And fraudsters attempt to trick targets into making sizable payments, with requests averaging $35,500, Agari found. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Feds Bust Dozens of Email Scammers, but Your Inbox Still Isn’t Safe," 12 June 2018 After a first term that saw record economic growth, averaging 9 percent from 2012 to 2016, his second term was roiled by a series of army mutinies and a general strike by civil servants over pension payments. Pauline Bax, Bloomberg.com, "Ivory Coast’s President Suggests He May Run Again, Sparking Concern," 4 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, 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

24 Mar 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

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 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.

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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