average

1 of 3

noun

av·​er·​age ˈa-v(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio)
1
a
: a single value (such as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values
2
a
: 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

average

2 of 3

adjective

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

average

3 of 3

verb

averaged; averaging

intransitive verb

1
a
: to be or come to an average
The gain averaged out to 20 percent.
b
: to have a medial value of
colors that average to gray
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)
3
a
: 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
Phrases
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]

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.

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

Example Sentences

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Across all 11 games, the Jets allowed only two goals per game, down from their season average of 2.65 goals per contest. Nick Hennion, Chicago Tribune, 30 Jan. 2023 Hood-Schifino is well ahead of his per-game average for points on the season (12.1). Evan Frank, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Jan. 2023 On top of that, the offensive rebounding was the best in the league (up a touch from their average on the season), which is a general philosophy the team has played into all year round. Tom Rende, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 When an asset or index crosses its moving average, that can signal a shift in trend direction. Hannah Miao, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2023 Advancing last week to a third NFC title game in four years, the Niners held the Dallas Cowboys 15 points below their average. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Jan. 2023 Whether the issue is physical, mental, mechanical, philosophical or a combination thereof, Prescott has to do better and can – his 3.8% interception rate in 2022 is nearly double his career average (2.0%). Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2023 Here, your average is more like three and a half (hours) with a lot more time zone changes. Dallas News, 24 Jan. 2023 Downtown Los Angeles has logged more than 13 inches of rain since October — more than 90% of its annual average of 14.25 inches. Los Angeles Times, 23 Jan. 2023
Adjective
The average age of the roster is 24 years, 7 weeks, and eight players are age-eligible for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which is a U-23 tournament. Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2023 The researchers found that 26.9 years was the overall average age of conception during the past 250,000 years. Freda Kreier, Scientific American, 18 Jan. 2023 Among those fatalities, 90% were 65 or older and the average age was 80.3 years, a Chinese official said on Saturday. Fox News, 18 Jan. 2023 Still, the average age of a shooting victim in Boston in recent years is over 25, according to Yablo, which means there are more factors underpinning local street violence than simply teens enraged over insulting TikToks. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Jan. 2023 The average age of people who died since Dec. 8 is 80.3 years and 90.1% are aged 65 and above, according to the Health Commission. Arkansas Online, 15 Jan. 2023 The Health Commission said the average age of people who died since Dec. 8 is 80.3 years, and 90.1% are aged 65 and above. Joe Mcdonald, Chicago Tribune, 14 Jan. 2023 The average age of those who died was 80.3 years and more than 90% of them had other diseases including cardiovascular diseases, advanced tumors and metabolic diseases, the commission said. Bloomberg, Fortune, 14 Jan. 2023 The average age of patients who had died was 80.3 years old. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2023
Verb
This helps inform the correct fit of the pack, which will typically average 55-65 liters in volume. Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel, 15 Jan. 2023 The yacht will have 54 suites, which will average 70 square meters (about 753 square-foot area). Nathan Diller, USA TODAY, 13 Jan. 2023 The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has invested $130 million in stormwater capture projects, like the Tujunga Spreading Grounds shown above—150 acres of dirt basins that average 20 feet deep. WIRED, 13 Jan. 2023 Similar to Xavier, all five of Creighton's starters average in double figures. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 11 Jan. 2023 Each of those players average at least 30 minutes per game, making the Badgers the only Big Ten team that has four players playing that many minutes. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 11 Jan. 2023 Now, the Liberty product has to lead an offense against a Cowboys defense that, outside of a pitiful showing last week against Philadelphia, has proved incredibly above-average this season. Nick Hennion, Chicago Tribune, 29 Dec. 2022 The Chicago Bears rank first in yards per carry (5.4) this season, and the Philadelphia Eagles average an NFL-best 0.14 EPA per rush. Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun, 21 Dec. 2022 The club room, up a flight of stairs from the lobby, is an oasis of calm where main courses average $34 — a bargain given the downtown location and the finesse on the plate. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1769, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of average was in 1746

Dictionary Entries Near average

Cite this Entry

“Average.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

average

1 of 3 noun
av·​er·​age ˈav-(ə-)rij How to pronounce average (audio)
1
2
: a level typical of a group, class, or series
their work is above the average
3
: a ratio of successful tries to total tries
batting average

average

2 of 3 adjective
1
: equaling or close to an arithmetic mean
2
: being ordinary or usual
the average person
an average day
averagely adverb
averageness noun

average

3 of 3 verb
averaged; averaging
1
: to amount to on the average
they average four feet in height
2
: to do or get usually
she averaged 40 miles a day
3
: to find the average of
average the grades

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