mediocre

adjective me·di·o·cre \ ˌmē-dē-ˈō-kər \
|Updated on: 13 Jun 2018

Definition of mediocre

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

Examples of mediocre in a Sentence

  1. They sensed that mediocre students like Roosevelt really did possess a set of virtues that needed to be protected and cherished. —David BrooksNew York Times Book Review6 Nov. 2005
  2. 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 MillmanESPN14 May 2001
  3. 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 KidderNew Yorker10 July 2000
  4. The dinner was delicious, but the dessert was mediocre.

  5. The carpenter did a mediocre job.

  6. The critics dismissed him as a mediocre actor.

Recent Examples of mediocre from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1mid, 1edge
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.


MEDIOCRE Defined for English Language Learners

mediocre

Definition of mediocre for English Language Learners

  • : not very good


MEDIOCRE Defined for Kids

mediocre

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

Definition of mediocre for Students

: not very good
  • That restaurant is just mediocre.


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