av·​er·​age | \ ˈa-v(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio) \

Definition of average

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a single value (such as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values
2a : an estimation of or approximation to an arithmetic mean
b : a level (as of intelligence) typical of a group, class, or series above the average
3 : a ratio expressing the average performance especially of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance a batting average
on average or on the average
: taking the typical example of the group under consideration Prices have increased on average by five percent. [=the average increase has been five percent]



Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : equaling an arithmetic mean
2a : being about midway between extremes a man of average height
b : not out of the ordinary : common on an average day the average person


averaged; averaging

Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to be or come to an average The gain averaged out to 20 percent.
b : to have a medial value of a color averaging a pale purple
2 : to buy on a falling market or sell on a rising market additional shares or commodities so as to obtain a more favorable average price usually used with down or up

transitive verb

1 : to do, get, or have on the average or as an average sum or quantity averages 12 hours of work a day
2 : to find the arithmetic mean of (a series of unequal quantities)
3a : to bring toward the average
b : to divide among a number according to a size, number, or amount that is directly related to or appropriate for something average a loss

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Other Words from average


averagely adverb
averageness noun

Synonyms for average

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for average


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

Did You Know?

The word average came into English from Middle French avarie, a derivative of an Arabic word meaning “damaged merchandise.” Avarie originally meant damage sustained by a ship or its cargo, but came to mean the expenses of such damage. When the English borrowed the word, they altered it to conform to the pattern of words ending in -age. When a ship or its cargo was damaged at sea, the owners or insurers shared the expense, or average. An average-adjuster determined a division of costs among them. An average then became any equal distribution or division, like the determination of an arithmetic mean. Soon the arithmetic mean itself was called an average. Now the word may be applied to any mean or middle value or level.

Examples of average in a Sentence

Noun The average of 16, 8, and 6 is 10. Take all these temperatures and find their average. An average of 2,000 people attended the show each night. Prices have increased on average about eight percent. On average, women live longer than men. His work has been above the average. Adjective Take all these temperatures and find their average temperature. The investment had a higher average return. The average age of the company's employees is 36. The average woman lives longer than the average man. Do you know what the average person earns? the average American family buyer Sales were about average for the industry on the whole. Average grades are not good enough to get you into graduate school. She was an average student. She thought the performance was just average. Verb The teacher averaged the students' grades. What figure do you get when you average the amount of rainfall for the last three months?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Swayman this season led the NCAA with 1,099 saves, was second in the nation with a .939 save percentage and ranked 14th in goals-against-average at 2.07. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage goalie Jeremy Swayman’s big week includes signing an NHL contract," 20 Mar. 2020 The state’s Labor Department website is averaging more than 250,000 logins each day, a 400% increase over the normal average. Eric Morath, WSJ, "U.S. Layoffs Likely Surged to Unprecedented Level This Past Week," 20 Mar. 2020 Each red line is the seven-day moving average, which smooths out day-to-day anomalies in how the data are reported by authorities. Keith Collins, New York Times, "Which Country Has Flattened the Curve for the Coronavirus?," 19 Mar. 2020 The state as a whole showed a 12-month rolling average of more than 4,080 properties closed on statewide. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "What Houston homes are selling for in March 2020," 19 Mar. 2020 According to the American Dental Association, the average dental student graduates owing $287,000. USA Today, "Dentists under pressure to drill ‘healthy teeth’ for profit, former insiders allege," 19 Mar. 2020 According to the American Dental Association, the average dental student graduates owing $287,000. Indianapolis Star, "'Drilling perfectly healthy teeth': Some Indiana dentists pressured to profit, insiders say," 19 Mar. 2020 Hodges said rainfall averages across the Valley should reach up to 0.5 inch, but some areas may see less. Chelsea Hofmann, azcentral, "Thunderstorms bring rain, hail to parts of metro Phoenix Wednesday," 18 Mar. 2020 The list of wide receivers earning a average of at least $20 million each year is now two names long. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Amari Cooper’s new contract with the Cowboys comes with a shrewd compromise," 18 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 90-odd that are in the red have on average six times as much net debt (adjusted for aircraft leases) as EBITDAR (a measure of airline profits). The Economist, "Flight risk Airlines are running out of cash," 19 Mar. 2020 On average, 85% of Central American and Mexican asylum applications were rejected last year. Paola Díaz, The Conversation, "Migrants at US-Mexico border must get past cartels before their long journey ends," 18 Mar. 2020 Atlanta’s Julio Jones has the highest average salary at wide receiver at $22 million. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "WR Amari Cooper agrees to re-sign with Cowboys on five-year deal," 17 Mar. 2020 The average teacher’s salary in the San Francisco public school system is $65,000, according to Susan Solomon, a kindergarten teacher who is now the president of the teachers’ union. Tim Arango, New York Times, "Our 2020 Election Guide," 11 Mar. 2020 The average teacher salary in North Carolina is $53,975, according to the Department of Public Instruction. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Four North Carolina counties approve sales tax increases," 10 Mar. 2020 Graduate teaching assistants at UC earn an average monthly salary of $2,400 per month. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "UC graduate students threaten more strikes as movement grows," 7 Mar. 2020 The Women’s National Basketball Association and its athletes recently signed a collective-bargaining agreement that tripled compensation for top players and boosted average salaries above six figures for the first time. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Women in Sports Are on a High. What’s Next?," 6 Mar. 2020 The project adds about 120 employees, each with an average annual salary of $35,360. Cincinnati.com, "$36M West Chester plant expansion to add 120 jobs," 27 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This winter, he was named the Three Rivers League Player of the Year, averaging 24.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. oregonlive, "Recruiting: Tigard’s Drew Carter, McNary’s Dyami Rios add FBS scholarship offers," 21 Mar. 2020 Overall, this first stage has averaged four months between flights. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Falcon 9 launches safely, but suffers an early engine shutdown [Updated]," 18 Mar. 2020 Alpha Diallo was a force inside, averaging 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "The 2020 NCAA tournament that could have been: South region," 16 Mar. 2020 Thanks to prudent economic policy and large-scale infrastructure investment, Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP growth rate has averaged nearly 8% since 2012. David Bruckmeier, Quartz Africa, "Côte d’Ivoire’s president rules out a third term, but it’s no guarantee elections won’t get messy," 13 Mar. 2020 Sheldon is stacked with big-time players, led by Bagley, an Arizona State signee who’s averaging 22 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Mitch Stephens, SFChronicle.com, "O’Dowd boys basketball, having proved its potential, faces Sheldon," 11 Mar. 2020 White led all first-year players in the East in scoring, averaging 20.1 points during the month. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls, Game 65 preview and listings," 10 Mar. 2020 Carter Combs, who was fifth in the Greater Miami Conference averaging 15.9 points per game, had a single point in the first half and finished with just five points. Alex Harrison, Cincinnati.com, "Lakota West boys basketball falls to top-seeded Centerville in district final," 9 Mar. 2020 The 6-7 Rasas came in averaging 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds. Richard Dean, Houston Chronicle, "Texas Southern overcomes slow start to take down Alabama State," 2 Mar. 2020

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


1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1769, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for average

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

from earlier average proportionally distributed charge for damage at sea, modification of Middle French avarie damage to ship or cargo, from Old Italian avaria, from Arabic ʽawārīya damaged merchandise

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Time Traveler for average

Time Traveler

The first known use of average was in 1746

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Statistics for average

Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Average.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for average


How to pronounce average (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of average

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a number that is calculated by adding quantities together and then dividing the total by the number of quantities
: a level that is typical of a group, class, or series : a middle point between extremes



English Language Learners Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

: calculated by adding quantities together and then dividing by the number of quantities
: ordinary or usual
: not unusually large or small



English Language Learners Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

: to have (a specified number) as an average
: to calculate the average of (something)


av·​er·​age | \ ˈa-və-rij How to pronounce average (audio) , ˈav-rij \

Kids Definition of average

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a number that is calculated by adding quantities together and dividing the total by the number of quantities : arithmetic mean An average of 20 students are in each class.
2 : something usual in a group, class, or series His grades have been better than average.



Kids Definition of average (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : equaling or coming close to an average The average age of students in my class is eleven.
2 : being ordinary or usual the average person


averaged; averaging

Kids Definition of average (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to amount to usually We averaged ten miles a day.
2 : to find the average of Our teacher averaged our test scores.

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