\ ˈnȯrm How to pronounce norm (audio) \

Definition of norm

1 : an authoritative standard : model
2 : a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior No society lacks norms governing conduct.— Robert K. Merton
3 : average: such as
a : a set standard of development or achievement usually derived from the average or median achievement of a large group
b : a pattern or trait taken to be typical in the behavior of a social group studies aimed at establishing the norms of sexual behavior among the middle classes
c : a widespread or usual practice, procedure, or custom standing ovations became the norm Bilingualism is the norm in many countries.
4a : a real-valued nonnegative function defined on a vector space with value analogous to length and satisfying the conditions that the function is zero if and only if the vector (see vector entry 1 sense 1a) is zero, the function of the product of a scalar and a vector is equal to the product of the absolute value of the scalar and the function of the vector, and the function of the sum of two vectors is less than or equal to the sum of the functions of the two vectors specifically : the square root of the sum of the squares of the absolute values of the elements of a matrix (see matrix sense 5a) or of the components of a vector
b : the greatest distance between two successive points of a set of points that partition an interval (see interval sense 2b) into smaller intervals

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Choose the Right Synonym for norm

average, mean, median, norm mean something that represents a middle point. average is the quotient obtained by dividing the sum total of a set of figures by the number of figures. scored an average of 85 on tests mean may be the simple average or it may represent value midway between two extremes. a high of 70° and a low of 50° give a mean of 60° median applies to the value that represents the point at which there are as many instances above as there are below. average of a group of persons earning 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10 dollars an hour is 6 dollars, whereas the median is 5 dollars norm means the average of performance of a significantly large group, class, or grade. scores about the norm for fifth grade arithmetic

Examples of norm in a Sentence

She scored well above the norm in math. Smaller families have become the norm. Women used to stay at home to take care of the children, but that's no longer the norm.
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Recent Examples on the Web In the 2018 midterms, after two years of Trump’s norm-shattering behavior, Orange County voters broke Democratic in several congressional districts long held by Republicans. Stephanie Lai, Los Angeles Times, "Republican congressional wins in California won’t avert party’s ‘death spiral,’ analysts say," 4 Jan. 2021 Because the standards for emergency use approval are significantly lower than the norm, the WHO cannot use them for pre-qualification, blocking regulators in lower-income countries from approving these vaccines. Safura Abdool Karim, STAT, "Emergency use authorization of Covid-19 vaccines could hinder global access to them," 18 Dec. 2020 The pandemic did allow more family time than the norm for Amy, Grant, Lee and Betty earlier this year. Star Tribune, "Amy Olson was close to 'The General' Lee Olson, a champion of a father-in-law," 15 Dec. 2020 But that season has become the exception rather than the norm under Herman. Brian Davis, USA TODAY, "Texas AD says Tom Herman will remain Longhorns football coach," 12 Dec. 2020 While many of Trump’s predecessors have not been shy about pursuing their agendas regardless of whether their successors agree with them, the president's moves have been far more dramatic than the norm, according to some experts. NBC News, "Trump's bold foreign policy moves raise fear of 'destructive' final days in office," 6 Dec. 2020 But the good news is that this figure is still about 4 percentage points higher than the 2019 norm. CBS News, "Black Friday car deals may not be as bountiful this year, Edmunds reports," 26 Nov. 2020 Paturalski'shospital sees about one death a day, far more than the norm, Paturalski said. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "'Stretched and squeezed' like never before, hospital officials ask community to help," 18 Nov. 2020 The jury is still out on who’ll occupy the Oval Office, but America’s verdict on liberal norm-busting is resounding. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "2020’s Biggest Election Losers," 5 Nov. 2020

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

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for norm

borrowed from Latin norma "carpenterʼs square, pattern," probably borrowed from an Etruscan adaptation of Greek gnṓmōn "carpenterʼs square, indicator on a sundial" — more at gnomon

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Learn More about norm

Statistics for norm

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Norm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for norm


How to pronounce norm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of norm

: standards of proper or acceptable behavior
: an average level of development or achievement
: something (such as a behavior or way of doing something) that is usual or expected


\ ˈnȯrm How to pronounce norm (audio) \

Kids Definition of norm

2 : a common practice


\ ˈnȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce norm (audio) \

Medical Definition of norm

: an established standard or average: as
a : a set standard of development or achievement usually derived from the average or median achievement of a large group
b : a pattern or trait taken to be typical in the behavior of a social group

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