mediocre

adjective
me·​di·​o·​cre | \ ˌmē-dē-ˈō-kər How to pronounce mediocre (audio) \

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 Stop propping up mediocre white men and grooming them for leadership while grooming the balance of the populous for service under them. Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Star, "What prominent community members say should be done to make Indiana better for everyone," 17 June 2020 Over the past three-plus decades, the Reds selection of 1st-round picks has been mediocre and that’s being kind. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: The Cincinnati Reds payoff from the 2020 MLB draft is years away," 11 June 2020 Fort Bragg was named for Braxton Bragg, a native North Carolinian and Confederate general with a reputation for bravery and mediocre leadership. Robert Burns, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump: No change at bases named for Confederate officers," 11 June 2020 Fort Bragg was named for Braxton Bragg, a native North Carolinian and Confederate general with a reputation for bravery and mediocre leadership. Robert Burns, The Christian Science Monitor, "Banning Confederate symbols? Military aims to unify, not divide.," 10 June 2020 The difference between a bad book, a mediocre book, and a breakaway bestseller is often in the amount of time invested in the refinement stage. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Take a tip from Lady Gaga to boost the quality of your work," 6 June 2020 Majors also coached at Iowa State from 1968-72, and returned to Pittsburgh for four mediocre seasons following his tenure at Tennessee. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Former Tennessee football coach Johnny Majors dead at 85," 3 June 2020 This is why Jason Witten continued to start over Blake Jarwin despite being ineffective and a shell of his former self and Jeff Heath maintained his starting spot despite years of mediocre play. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 Cowboys in danger of losing their starting jobs, including an inconsistent nose tackle," 1 June 2020 The former is beloved by many, the latter generally considered mediocre, but both are pretty damn old at this point. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is Epic's latest free game giveaway," 28 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for mediocre

Time Traveler

The first known use of mediocre was circa 1586

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Statistics for mediocre

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mediocre.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mediocre. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mediocre

mediocre

adjective
How to pronounce mediocre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mediocre

: not very good

mediocre

adjective
me·​di·​o·​cre | \ ˌmē-dē-ˈō-kər How to pronounce mediocre (audio) \

Kids Definition of mediocre

: not very good That restaurant is just mediocre.

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Comments on mediocre

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