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 Credit to Nagy for recognizing that while the Bears' 2-0 record looks good on the front cover, the content inside the book has been mediocre. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Matt Nagy’s assertion that his team is ‘just OK right now’ is _____. The Chicago Bears really need Khalil Mack to ________.Our writers offer their takes on 4 key topics.," 24 Sep. 2020 But the assessment’s results for last year, at least for the Inner Harbor, were somewhat mediocre. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership releases new vision for Inner Harbor swimming," 23 Sep. 2020 The Buckeyes project to spend much of the season pulverizing an uninspiring string of mediocre Big Ten filler. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football should not worry about playing catch-up in playoff race: College football Monday Madness," 21 Sep. 2020 Many of Netflix's teen shows have been decidedly mediocre, but every once in a while the streaming service finds a young-adult story worth watching. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 7 new TV shows you should watch this fall (and yes, there are still new shows, even during COVID)," 15 Sep. 2020 The country’s leading art educator was the mediocre German painter Anton Raphael Mengs, who promulgated a sort of housebroken neoclassicism. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Goya and the Art of Survival," 14 Sep. 2020 Surround me with mediocre talent and hand me a million dollars, please! Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Kelly Goldsmith on having no regrets from Survivor: Africa," 10 Sep. 2020 Florida State has endured mediocre results for three seasons. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "10 changes to watch for as college football season kicks off," 10 Sep. 2020 The Indianapolis Colts were a mediocre 7-9 last year. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "NFL power rankings Week 1: Colts viewed as likely playoff contenders," 9 Sep. 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

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mediocre.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mediocre. Accessed 27 Sep. 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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