normal distribution

noun

Definition of normal distribution

: a probability density function that approximates the distribution of many random variables (such as the proportion of outcomes of a particular kind in a large number of independent repetitions of an experiment in which the probabilities remain constant from trial to trial) and that has the form {latex}f(x) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi\sigma^{2}}}e^{-\frac{(x - \mu)^{2}}{2\sigma^{2}}}{/latex} where μ is the mean and σ is the standard deviation — compare normal curve

Examples of normal distribution in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once supply is less tight and Gilead starts selling the drug in normal distribution channels, the list price for private insurance companies and other commercial payers in the U.S. will be $520 a vial, or $3,120 for a five-day course. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "COVID drug remdesivir to be priced at $2,340 for 5-day treatment," 29 June 2020 Once supply is less tight and Gilead starts selling the drug in normal distribution channels, the list price for private insurance companies and other commercial payers in the U.S. will be $520 a vial, or $3,120 for a five-day course. Robert Langreth, Fortune, "Gilead to charge thousands for coronavirus treatment drug that critics say should cost $1," 29 June 2020 On a graph, a normal distribution of the likely rise in temperature would look like a hump: a low tail at the left (unlikely), leading to a high hump in the middle (most likely), and a low tail on the right (unlikely). Gilbert E. Metcalf, Scientific American, "How to Set a Price on Carbon Pollution," 19 May 2020 The good news is that most comic publishers (including Image, Marvel, and DC) have announced plans to return to more normal distribution starting in June. Christian Holub, EW.com, "3 comics to read in May: Grappling with a changing world," 8 May 2020 The random motion of the balls typically leads to a normal distribution in the slots: most balls fall near the center, and fewer fall toward the sides, tapering off at the edges. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record," 6 Nov. 2019 As Scott and his colleagues noted in their paper, if a pathogen grows exponentially and a population receives a statistically normal distribution of exposures to it, then a lognormal distribution of incubation times should result. Quanta Magazine, "Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues," 1 Mar. 2018 There are many naturally arising normal distributions, like the birth weight of babies and the amount of milk that cows produce. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Averages Aren’t Always What They Seem," 19 June 2019 The most famous statistical pattern of all is the normal distribution, which takes the shape of a bell curve and describes the statistical distribution of a wide range of uncorrelated events (like heights in a population or scores on the SAT). Quanta Magazine, "Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct," 6 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'normal distribution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of normal distribution

1897, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about normal distribution

Time Traveler for normal distribution

Time Traveler

The first known use of normal distribution was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Statistics for normal distribution

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Normal distribution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/normal%20distribution. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on normal distribution

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about normal distribution

Comments on normal distribution

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!