[av.er.age] n [fr. earlier average proportionally distributed charge for damage at sea, modif. of MF avarie damage to ship or cargo, fr. OIt avaria, fr. Ar 'awariyah damaged merchandise] (1735) 1 a: a single value (as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values b: mean 1b
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 ~"
3: a ratio expressing the average performance esp. of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance -- on average or on the average : taking the typical example of the group under consideration "prices have increased on average by five percent" syn average, mean, median, norm mean something that represents a middle point. average is exactly or approximately 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 degrees and a low of 50 degrees give a mean of 60 degrees ". 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 a day is
6. dollars, whereas the median is
5. dollars". norm means the computed or estimated average of performance of a significantly large group, class, or grade "scores about the norm for 5th grade arithmetic".
average adj (1770) 1: equaling an arithmetic mean
2. a: being about midway between extremes "a man of ~ height" b: not out of the ordinary: common "the ~ person" -- av.er.age.ly adv -- av.er.age.ness n average vb av.er.aged ; av.er.ag.ing vi (1769) 1 a: 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--usu. used with down or up ~ vt 1: to do, get, or have on the average or as an average sum or quantity "~s 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 proportionately