me·​di·​um | \ˈmē-dē-əm \
plural mediums or media\ ˈmē-​dē-​ə \

Definition of medium 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something in a middle position These shirts are all mediums.

b : a middle condition or degree : mean Look for a happy medium.

2 : a means of effecting or conveying something: such as

a(1) : a substance regarded as the means of transmission (see transmission sense 1) of a force or effect air is the medium that conveys sound

(2) : a surrounding or enveloping substance

(3) : the tenuous material (such as gas and dust) in space that exists outside large agglomerations (see agglomeration sense 2) of matter (such as stars) interstellar medium

b plural usually media

(1) : a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment — compare mass medium

(2) : a publication or broadcast that carries advertising

(3) : a mode of artistic expression or communication as his literary medium he has chosen a biographical form— Ernest Newman

(4) : something (such as a magnetic disk) on which information may be stored

c media plural : digital audio or video files available for playback or streaming … the free video broadcasts can be downloaded to portable media players from a number of popular pod[cast] and vodcast Web sites.— Steve Miller Apple's current keyboards can use the function keys … for alternate functions such as controlling volume, screen brightness, media playback …— Dan Frakes

d : go-between, intermediary the medium of introduction was no doubt … the publisher— Richard Garnett

d plural mediums : an individual held to be a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits

e : material or technical means of artistic expression (such as paint and canvas, sculptural stone, or literary or musical form)

3a : a condition or environment in which something may function or flourish Ocean fish live in a medium of salt water.

b plural media

(1) : a nutrient system for the artificial cultivation of cells or organisms and especially bacteria

(2) : a fluid or solid in which organic (see organic entry 1 sense 3) structures are placed (as for preservation or mounting)

c : a liquid with which pigment is mixed by a painter



Definition of medium (Entry 2 of 2)

: intermediate in quantity, quality, position, size, or degree

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Is media singular or plural?: Usage Guide


The singular media and its plural medias seem to have originated in the field of advertising over 70 years ago; they are still so used without stigma in that specialized field. In most other applications media is used as a plural of medium. The popularity of the word in references to the agencies of mass communication is leading to the formation of a mass noun, construed as a singular. there's no basis for it. You know, the news media gets on to something — Edwin Meese 3d the media is less interested in the party's policies — James Lewis, Guardian Weekly This use is not as well established as the mass-noun use of data and is likely to incur criticism especially in writing.

Examples of medium in a Sentence


These shirts are all mediums and I take a large. Make my French fries a medium. Her preferred medium is sculpture. The artist works in two media , pencil and watercolor.


These T-shirts are available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. a person of medium build How would you like your steak, sir: rare, medium, or well-done?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, also in the capital, some students barricaded themselves on the campus earlier in the day as paramilitary groups that support Ortega shot at the building from outside, according to media reports. NBC News, "Violence rings out at Nicaraguan church, university after nationwide strike," 14 July 2018 The Instagram user has been named in media reports but her identity has not been confirmed. Rob Tornoe,, "LeSean McCoy domestic abuse allegations: What we know," 12 July 2018 But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO,) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter. David Meyer, Fortune, "President Trump Reportedly Threatened to Pull the U.S. Out of NATO," 12 July 2018 The second player is believed to be Silvio De Sousa, who committed to Kansas on Aug. 30, 2017, according to media reports. Justin Sayers, The Courier-Journal, "Report: Kansas has been subpoenaed in the FBI basketball investigation," 10 July 2018 The letters, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, cite numerous media reports over the last couple of years outlining Google's data collection practices. Washington Post,, "Lawmakers press Apple and Google on how they track and listen to smartphone users," 9 July 2018 The bridge was intended to provide a walkway over the busy street where an 18-year-old female FIU student from San Diego was killed while trying to cross last August, according to local media reports. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "West University Place conducts drainage study," 7 July 2018 An Amber Alert was also issued in the Minneapolis area, according to media reports there. Lauren Fox And Max Londberg, kansascity, "Amber Alert canceled for Lenexa teen. Suspect, 22, had posed as teen online, dad says," 6 July 2018 According to Israeli media reports, a cache of bronze coins from that time was found in 2014 in a village near Jerusalem and more were unearthed in a cave by the Temple Mount in 2018, from the second and fourth years of the rebellion. Yori Yalon, Jewish Journal, "Rare coin minted 1,900 years ago discovered in Jerusalem," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The girl described the man as white, approximately 30 years old, with dark, medium length hair and a tan complexion. Aurora Beacon-News, "Police seek man who exposed himself to young girl in Batavia," 1 Mar. 2018 That’s why medium hair is the perfect length for easy, carefree beach waves that look gorgeous. Bella Gerard,, "The 11 Best Hairstyles for Medium-Length Hair," 16 Feb. 2018 The burglary suspect was described as a white man, 16 to 22 years old, 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 160 to 180 pounds, with medium brown hair touching his ears. Cathy Locke, sacbee, "40 years after East Area Rapist last struck Sacramento area, investigators seek help with leads," 2 Feb. 2018 Last year eight European banks and IBM unveiled, a trade-finance conduit for small and medium enterprises. The Economist, "The digitisation of trade’s paper trail may be at hand," 22 Mar. 2018 Enrollment changes were uneven, with some small and medium rural districts growing substantially and others contracting as much or more. Betsy Hammond,, "Oregon schools' enrollment growth slows," 1 Feb. 2018 Stockton’s shift from small and medium-sized works to his monumental drawing of Kurt Cobain augurs future experimentation, as well. Edith Newhall,, "In Philly galleries now: 3 local faves at Drexel, Dieu Donné hand-made paper, realist paintings," 24 Jan. 2018 In a saucepan, whisk the cornmeal into the water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Caleb Barber,, "Recipe: Pancake lovers will sing with joy over these cornmeal-oat blueberry beauties," 9 July 2018 Increase speed to medium-low and mix until dough forms a ball and begins to pull away from sides of bowl, 6 to 8 minutes. Hannah Walhout, Smithsonian, "Forget Baguettes — Why In-the-Know Bread Lovers Should be Heading to the Caucasus (Recipe)," 5 July 2018

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


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1670, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medium


Latin, from neuter of medius middle — more at mid


see medium entry 1

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Learn More about medium

Statistics for medium

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medium

The first known use of medium was in 1589

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More Definitions for medium



English Language Learners Definition of medium

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is sold in a medium size : something that is the middle size when compared with things that are larger and smaller

: a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television)

: the materials or methods used by an artist



English Language Learners Definition of medium (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the middle of a range of possible sizes, amounts, etc.

of meat : cooked to a point that is between rare and well-done


me·​di·​um | \ˈmē-dē-əm \
plural mediums or media\ -​dē-​ə \

Kids Definition of medium

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is in a middle position (as in size)

2 : the thing by which or through which something is done Writing is a medium of communication.

3 : the substance in which something lives or acts the medium of air

4 plural usually media : a form or system of communication, information, or entertainment

5 : a person through whom other persons try to communicate with the spirits of the dead



Kids Definition of medium (Entry 2 of 2)

: intermediate in amount, quality, position, or degree medium size


me·​di·​um | \ˈmēd-ē-əm \
plural mediums or media\ -​ē-​ə \

Medical Definition of medium 

1 : a means of effecting or conveying something: as

a : a substance regarded as the means of transmission of a force or effect

b : a surrounding or enveloping substance

2  plural media

a : a nutrient system for the artificial cultivation of cells or organisms and especially bacteria

b : a fluid or solid in which organic structures are placed (as for preservation or mounting)

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