median

1 of 2

noun

me·​di·​an ˈmē-dē-ən How to pronounce median (audio)
1
: a medial (see medial sense 2b) part (such as a vein or nerve)
2
a
: a value in an ordered set of values below and above which there is an equal number of values or which is the arithmetic mean of the two middle values if there is no one middle number
b
: a vertical line that divides the histogram of a frequency distribution into two parts of equal area
c
: a value of a random variable for which all greater values make the cumulative distribution function greater than one half and all lesser values make it less than one half
3
a
: a line from a vertex (see vertex sense 2) of a triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side
b
: a line joining the midpoints of the nonparallel sides of a trapezoid (see trapezoid sense 1a)
4

median

2 of 2

adjective

1
: being in the middle or in an intermediate position : medial
2
: lying in the plane dividing a bilateral animal into right and left halves
3
: relating to or constituting a statistical median
4
: produced without occlusion along the lengthwise middle line of the tongue
medianly adverb

Did you know?

People often use the word average without realizing that there are two common forms of average. Suppose you want to find the average net worth of a group of people—that is, the average value of everything they possess. To find one type of average, called the mean, you'd simply add up the total value of money and property of everyone in the group and divide it by the number of people. To find the other type, called the median, you'd identify the net worth of the person who is richer than half the people and poorer than the other half. So if Warren Buffett drove through a tiny village in India, the mean net worth of those in the village would suddenly rise to perhaps a billion dollars, but their median net worth would remain close to zero. Which figure would be more meaningful?

Choose the Right Synonym for median

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

Examples of median in a Sentence

Adjective What is the median price of homes in this area? the median price of a home in the area
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
According to statistics kept by the program, about two-thirds of the money has gone to households at or below the area median income. Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 The goal was to install a block-length senior housing development aimed primarily at seniors age 55 and up earning no more than 30% of area median income, or less than $13,400 annually. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, 10 Feb. 2024 Less than 500 units were designated for people who earn 80% or less of the area median income — $82,560 for a family of four in Miami-Dade County and $69,520 in Tampa Bay. Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Both videos show the passenger in the truck, wearing a light-colored hoodie and black pants, get out of the truck and start walking across the street to a median before turning around and walking back into the street. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 29 Jan. 2024 Six Chinese navy vessels were also headed to Taiwan, and 13 of China's warplanes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 27 Jan. 2024 Homes in Cleveland cost three times less than the national median. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 25 Jan. 2024 At least 30 percent of the housing would need to be affordable for those living at 30 to 80 percent of the area median income, which for a family of four in D.C. ranges from $42,000 to $113,000. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2024 In August, sea ice was much lower than the 1981-2022 median—roughly 850,000 square miles, an area larger than Greenland, was missing. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024
Adjective
At the end of 2023, the median sale price in the scenic community clocked in at $2.8 million, a whopping 14-plus percent increase from the year prior, according to Realtor.com. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 The median bail for Asians in Pasadena was $5,000; for white people and Latinos, $15,000; and for Black people, $26,000. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 The median price target for Microsoft of the 51 analysts who cover the company is $465, according to CNN Business, representing a 12% increase. Peter Cohan, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Aided by the growth of technology, including electronic medical records and communications tools, this job has increased 40% in the past 20 years, with the median NP in 2022 earning $125,000, or 50% more than the median household income. Irina Ivanova, Fortune, 12 Feb. 2024 With the median cost of one ticket at $8,599 on Thursday, according to data from ticket reseller VividSeats, Mendoza’s hoping to win her way in. Grace Hase, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 The median price for an existing house in Eagle was higher than in any other neighborhood in Ada or Canyon counties in 2023, clocking in at $826,000, according to the IMLS. Nick Rosenberger, Idaho Statesman, 5 Feb. 2024 In December 2021, the median home price was $743,000 and the average mortgage rate was 3.11 percent. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Feb. 2024 The hiring frenzy of recent years has leveled out, and there are fewer open jobs; plus, job-switchers have less of a financial incentive now: Their median annual pay gain in January was 7.2%, the lowest since May 2021, according to payroll processor ADP. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English mediane, from Late Latin mediana (vena) median (vein), from feminine of Latin medianus in the middle, central, from medius middle — more at mid

Adjective

Latin medianus — see median entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of median was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near median

Cite this Entry

“Median.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/median. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

median

1 of 2 noun
me·​di·​an ˈmēd-ē-ən How to pronounce median (audio)
1
: a value in a series arranged from smallest to largest below and above which there are an equal number of values or which is the average of the two middle values if there is no one middle value
the median of the set 1, 3, 7, 12, 19 is 7 and the median of the set 2, 5, 7, 15 is 6
2
: a line drawn from the vertex of a triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side

median

2 of 2 adjective
1
: being in the middle or in an intermediate position
2
: relating to or making up a median
Etymology

Noun

from Latin mediana vena "median vein (a large vein in the arm)," from earlier Latin medianus "being in the middle," from medius "middle" — related to intermediate, mean entry 3, meridian

Medical Definition

median

1 of 2 noun
me·​di·​an ˈmēd-ē-ən How to pronounce median (audio)
1
: a medial part (as a vein or nerve)
2
a
: a value in an ordered set of values below and above which there is an equal number of values or which is the arithmetic mean of the two middle values if there is no one middle number
b
: a vertical line that divides the histogram of a frequency distribution into two parts of equal area

median

2 of 2 adjective
: situated in the middle
specifically : lying in a plane dividing a bilateral animal into right and left halves

More from Merriam-Webster on median

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