central tendency


: the degree of clustering of the values of a statistical distribution that is usually measured by the arithmetic mean, mode, or median

Examples of central tendency in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is worsened by the fact many pollsters provide only two possible answers to a question in lieu of a more representative and comprehensive Likert scale, eliminating the central tendency and artificially reducing a spectrum of responses towards dichotomous poles. Steven Tian, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2022 The rate of adaptation is proportional to the amount of heritable phenotypic variation extant within the population, because selection needs variance away from the old optimum toward the new one to shift the population central tendency. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 29 Apr. 2010 There are three basic measures of central tendency, and three not-so-basic. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 16 Sep. 2021 In fact the distribution was closer to normal, with a central tendency and a variance about the mode. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 4 Oct. 2010 Avoid the central tendency bias as your employees will likely perform differently. Erin Imhof, Forbes, 23 June 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'central tendency.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of central tendency was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near central tendency

Cite this Entry

“Central tendency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/central%20tendency. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition

central tendency

: the extent to which statistical values fall around a middle value
the mean, median, and mode are all used to measure central tendency
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