mediocre

adjective
me·​di·​o·​cre | \ ˌmē-dē-ˈō-kər \

Definition of mediocre

: of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance : ordinary, so-so

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The Enduring Moderation of Mediocre

One of the things that is remarkable about mediocre is the extent to which it has retained its meaning over the course of more than four centuries of continual use. The word, when used as an adjective, has changed very little, if at all, in its meaning since it was used in a 1586 book titled The English Secretorie (our earliest known evidence): “Mediocre, a meane betwixt high and low, vehement and slender, too much and too little as we saye. . . .” The word comes to English via Middle French from the Latin word mediocris, meaning "of medium size, moderate, middling, commonplace," and perhaps originally "halfway to the top." The noun form of mediocre is mediocrity.

Examples of mediocre in a Sentence

They sensed that mediocre students like Roosevelt really did possess a set of virtues that needed to be protected and cherished. — David Brooks, New York Times Book Review, 6 Nov. 2005 Of course, it could be that what Wesley has been through steeled his nerves and transformed him from a mediocre point guard into one of the fiercest shooters in the league with the game on the line. — Chad Millman, ESPN, 14 May 2001 In short, they'd have to build a first-rate health-care system out of the shantytown's mediocre one—a system that would administer those drugs reliably and keep the patients' spirits up, because the second-line drugs are weak and have unpleasant side effects, which a patient has to endure for as much as two years. — Tracy Kidder, New Yorker, 10 July 2000 The dinner was delicious, but the dessert was mediocre. The carpenter did a mediocre job. The critics dismissed him as a mediocre actor.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yeah, there’s a lot of bad-to-mediocre TV out there, but there’s also a lot of TV that’s trying stuff. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The 7 best TV shows of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 That kind of dead money (as well as mediocre-at-best production for the cash already paid) has become a common sight at the offices on Yawkey Way. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "The Red Sox Ran Out of Patience With the Underperforming Hanley Ramirez," 25 May 2018 Yet, a white woman with mediocre grades wasn’t the ideal plaintiff to claim unfair admissions practices. Yuvraj Joshi, Teen Vogue, "Why the Affirmative Action Case Against Harvard Isn’t Actually About Fair Treatment for Minority Students," 16 Oct. 2018 The Warriors had looked mediocre at the end of the regular season, finishing up 7-10. Victor Mather, New York Times, "The Golden State Warriors Have Shaken Off the Rust," 20 Apr. 2018 Again, this is mediocre content at absolute best and yet 450k+ people liked it so, IDK, maybe taste is relative? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, October 5 Edition," 5 Oct. 2018 His other screenwriting credits include The Stepford Wives (the 1974 original, not the mediocre 2004 remake), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Chaplin (1992), and Misery (1990). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "RIP William Goldman, creator of beloved film, The Princess Bride," 16 Nov. 2018 But on the whole, HAVA was the Johnny Appleseed of mediocre security practices, encouraging states to adopt insecure products from largely unregulated companies. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 Presumptively high-achieving minorities are more appealing plaintiffs than mediocre white applicants. Yuvraj Joshi, Teen Vogue, "Why the Affirmative Action Case Against Harvard Isn’t Actually About Fair Treatment for Minority Students," 16 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mediocre.' 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 mediocre

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mediocre

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin mediocris "of medium size, moderate, middling, commonplace," perhaps originally "halfway to the top," from medius "middle, central" + -ocris, adjective derivative from the base of Old Latin ocris "rugged mountain," going back to Indo-European *h2oḱ-r-i- "point, peak, edge" (whence also Umbrian ukar, ocar "citadel," Middle Irish ochair "edge, border," Welsh ochr, Greek ókris "top, point, corner"), derivative of *h2eḱ- "pointed" — more at mid entry 1, edge entry 1

Note: The base *h2oḱ-r-i- forms a pair with *h2eḱ-r- "sharp, pointed" (see acro-) and the two have been explained as part of an original "acrostatic" paradigm of a noun, with fixed stress on the root, o-vocalism in the direct cases and e-vocalism in the oblique cases, with Indo-European daughter languages generalizing one form or another. Note that Greek has both ókris, as above, and ákris "hilltop, mountain peak." Perhaps also belonging here is Sanskrit aśri- "corner, angle, edge" (see at acro-), where the vowel may be either *a or *o.

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Statistics for mediocre

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for mediocre

The first known use of mediocre was circa 1586

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More Definitions for mediocre

mediocre

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of mediocre

: not very good

mediocre

adjective
me·​di·​o·​cre | \ ˌmē-dē-ˈō-kər \

Kids Definition of mediocre

: not very good That restaurant is just mediocre.

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More from Merriam-Webster on mediocre

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mediocre

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mediocre

Spanish Central: Translation of mediocre

Nglish: Translation of mediocre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mediocre for Arabic Speakers

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