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

The rhetorical overkill used to describe a mediocre but well-intentioned presidency was so over-the-top it was parodied in a famous Simpsons bit: Carter was a Republican bogeyman in 1988, and when Bill Clinton came along. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 This franchise has wasted so much time and even more talent investing in mediocre quarterbacks. Omar Kelly, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Kelly: A verdict on Ryan Tannehill is overdue | Commentary," 26 June 2018 There were too many in the market already, all trying to solve the same problem with a mediocre product. Bruce Schoenfeld, WIRED, "Your Next Glass of Wine Might Be a Fake—and You'll Love It," 30 May 2018 But Siena was merely mediocre in his tenure, going 77-92 overall and 47-51 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games. Tim Reynolds, baltimoresun.com, "Siena men's basketball coach Jimmy Patsos resigns amid investigation into abuse," 13 Apr. 2018 But now this is a mediocre, aging team about to hire a new general manager to replace Rich Cho. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Dwight Howard hasn’t changed the Charlotte Hornets’ fortunes. Is it time for a trade? | Charlotte Observer," 1 Apr. 2018 Their task would be much more difficult against even a mediocre pitching staff. 2. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Whit not an All-Star (?), Jeff Long and KU, Chiefs fears, Odom's crossroads," 10 July 2018 The Canadian endured a mediocre Saturday that saw him qualify on the sixth row. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: James Hinchcliffe finds some salvation in Iowa," 8 July 2018 While you and your plebeian friends celebrated Independence Day by firing up a few mediocre hotdogs on the barbecue, J-Rod were busy cozying up to each other on a picturesque beach looking hot as heck (literally and metaphorically speaking). Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "Are Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez Engaged? Here Are All the Clues," 6 July 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

18 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on mediocre

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