\ 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 2a) 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 As far as Audrey Hepburn's outfits went, bold patterns like the one on her runway look weren't the norm—but the curved collar and A-line waist could be spotted in outfits throughout her career. Whitney Perry, Glamour, "These Audrey Hepburn Style Moments Are Simply Timeless," 15 Jan. 2020 Question 3: Can Away be transparent about its norms and expectations? Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Does Away co-founder Steph Korey really deserve to be CEO again?," 14 Jan. 2020 As is her norm, the singer wrote the song with her older brother Finneas. Ruth Kinane,, "Billie Eilish to perform title song for James Bond film No Time to Die," 14 Jan. 2020 Baylor beat Texas, TCU and Texas Tech this season, which hadn’t been the norm lately, at least for Texas and TCU. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "What Matt Rhule’s departure could mean for Baylor and its in-state competitors," 10 Jan. 2020 Where the Constitution has been faltering is in the significant erosion of our informal, unwritten norms. Noah Feldman, Twin Cities, "Noah Feldman: Trump impeachment is a shot in the arm for the Constitution," 20 Dec. 2019 While your norm might be to build a look off of a staple LBD or your favorite party dress, switch things up a bit this season and begin with the most important detail: one stellar accessory. Hannah Miller, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Perfect Night Out Starts With the Right Accessory," 19 Dec. 2019 Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Houston and San Francisco could see more than three times their norms. Amir Vera And Jennifer Gray, CNN, "Three big storms to bring snow, rain and headaches on Thanksgiving week," 24 Nov. 2019 Democrats have long hoped that Mr Trump would pay a price for his norm-breaking behaviour. The Economist, "Democrats want impeachment hearings to change opinions on Donald Trump," 14 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for norm

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Norm.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on norm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for norm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with norm

Spanish Central: Translation of norm

Nglish: Translation of norm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of norm for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about norm

Comments on norm

What made you want to look up norm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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