me·​di·​um | \ ˈmē-dē-əm How to pronounce medium (audio) \
plural mediums or media\ ˈmē-​dē-​ə How to pronounce media (audio) \

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 1) 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

Noun 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. Adjective 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 Leaks from Bolton's unpublished book made their way into media reports during the Senate impeachment trial as Democrats sought the former national security adviser's testimony. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "'Liar' or 'back-stabber': Rudy Giuliani slams John Bolton over book allegations," 10 Feb. 2020 Do no harm In Memphis, a Methodist hospital decided to change its practices last year following media reports. al, "This Alabama hospital sued more than 1,000 patients last year. Some owed just $150," 10 Feb. 2020 In South Carolina, one unidentified driver died when a tree toppled onto his car in York County, according to local media reports. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "11 tornadoes reported across South as deadly storm causes power outages, major flooding," 8 Feb. 2020 And in 2016, six people were killed in an Alabama crash when the controllers directed an incapacitated plane to an airport 29 miles away when two closer airports were available, according to the Fehr lawsuit and media reports. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Family of Fort Worth pilot who died in plane crash claim air controller sent him wrong way," 8 Feb. 2020 Before the coronavirus outbreak, Li was relatively unknown even within his hospital, according to local media reports. Hillary Leung, Time, "'An Eternal Hero.' Whistleblower Doctor Who Sounded Alarm on Coronavirus Dies in China," 7 Feb. 2020 At least 29 people have died in e-scooter accidents since companies like Bird and Lime popularized rentable shared scooters in 2018, according to a Quartz analysis of global media reports. Alison Griswold, Quartz, "At least 29 people have died in electric scooter crashes since 2018," 7 Feb. 2020 News media reports said the Red Sox offered Betts a 10-year deal worth close to $300 million, and Betts countered by asking for 12 years and $420 million. David Waldstein, New York Times, "With Mookie Betts Trade, Red Sox Stick to an Unpopular Plan," 5 Feb. 2020 The struggling retailer's consolidation of its headquarters operations in New York City will displace a total of about 500 local workers, according to multiple media reports. Randy Tucker, Alex Coolidge & Deon J. Hampton,, "Macy’s closing Cincinnati headquarters downtown," 4 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These kinds of increases are devastating for a small-to-medium nonprofit. Carolyn Said,, "From horse handlers to tutors, California gig law AB5 frustrates contractors," 10 Feb. 2020 So, while cinema is a medium dependent on technique, the adjudicators are right to think that artistry depends more on storytelling than on sheer skill. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "What Two Nominations for Best Picture Say About Film," 10 Feb. 2020 Chopped into a sleek, middle-parted long bob (aka lob), her hair is now a rich shade of medium brown. Marci Robin, Allure, "Khloé Kardashian Cut Her Hair Into a Brunette Bob With Chunky Highlights," 9 Feb. 2020 The lower distances of 100 to 500 meters will focus more on power, medium distances of 500 to 1000 meters will work primarily on strength and most distances over 1000 meters will focus on endurance. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "What is Orangetheory? And could it help you lose weight?," 6 Feb. 2020 Back sleepers should opt for a medium thickness in between that keeps their neck aligned without arching their head forward. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, "Your Ultimate Guide to Buying New Bed Pillows," 5 Feb. 2020 The woman driving the Camry was described as 50 years old with gray and white hair and a medium build. The Columbian, oregonlive, "2 Vancouver schools send ‘stranger danger’ alerts to parents," 30 Jan. 2020 Where to pump at the airport The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act of 2018 mandated that all medium and large U.S. airports provide private lactation spaces in every terminal by 2021. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Primer to Breastfeeding and Pumping While Traveling," 29 Jan. 2020 On a programming note, Carr said the department is partnering with Milwaukee Area Technical College to bring an online associate degree program to all their medium-security facilities across the state. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Carr promises improvements and new action from Gov. Evers on criminal justice reform," 27 Jan. 2020

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

Noun and Adjective

Latin, from neuter of medius middle — more at mid

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Time Traveler for medium

Time Traveler

The first known use of medium was in 1589

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Statistics for medium

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Medium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for medium


How to pronounce medium (audio)

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 How to pronounce medium (audio) \
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 How to pronounce medium (audio) \
plural mediums or media\ -​ē-​ə How to pronounce media (audio) \

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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Comments on medium

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