Meaning of AVERAGE in English

I. ˈav(ə)rij, -rēj noun

( -s )

Etymology: modification (influenced by English -age ) of Middle French avarie damage to ship or cargo, port dues, from Old Italian avaria damage to ship or cargo, from Arabic 'awārīyah damaged merchandise, from 'awār defect, damage, from 'ār to harm

1. obsolete : a tariff on goods transported by ship


a. obsolete : a charge payable by the owner or consignor in addition to the regular charge for freight of goods shipped

b. : sundry petty charges regularly and necessarily defrayed by the master (as port charges, pilotage) formerly borne partly by the ship and partly by the cargo but now usually included in the freight

3. marine insurance

a. : a less than total loss sustained by a ship or cargo

b. : a charge arising from damage caused by sea perils customarily distributed equitably and proportionately among all chargeable with it

c. : an incidence of such loss or charge

4. : arithmetic mean

5. : an estimate or approximate representation of an arithmetic mean

students are expected to maintain a B average or better

6. : something felt as representing an arithmetic average and hence typical of a group, class, or series

the simple act of ringing doorbells while seeking votes introduced him to the average — John Mason Brown

7. : a ratio expressing the average performance especially of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance

in a batting slump his average dropped from .303 to .261

the team average so far this season

8. : the average price of a group of securities or stocks (as industrials or railroads) used as a measure of changes in price levels — usually used in plural

the current position of leading averages


average , mean , median , norm , par can mean in common a number, quantity, or condition that represents a middle point between extremes. average is chiefly an arithmetical term to indicate the figure arrived at by finding the sum of a given number of unequal figures and dividing by the number of figures

the average of 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 is 15, that is, 90 divided by 6

and is usually computed as a means of getting a fair general estimate of something comprising a series of unequal but like things (as grades in school courses, depths of snowfall in successive years, weekly sales over a period of weeks). In certain applications, as in sports or gambling, an average is usually the proportion, expressed in a percentage, of successful performances (as hits achieved in a single baseball season by a ballplayer) to opportunities for or attempts at successful performance (as the total number of times a ballplayer goes to bat in a single baseball season); in other applications, as in statistical analysis, it may be, for example, the proportion, expressed in a percentage, of deaths in a given period for every 1000 citizens over 50 years old or automobile accidents in a given area over a given time for every 100 drivers. It may extend to designate a person who stands at a roughly estimated middle level in a scale presumably determining the intellectual or cultural capacity or quality of a group, especially a society

Dartmouth's Shattuck Observatory has been measuring snowfall since 1867, and the average at Hanover is six feet — R.S.Monahan

only those renters are admitted whose incomes fall within certain fixed limits — limits which are, however, higher than the average of the people who formerly lived in the area — American Guide Series: Minnesota

it is enough if we are of the same moral and mental stature as the “main” or “mean” part of men — that is to say as the average — Samuel Butler †1902

the cleverest boys go to the École Normale Supérieure and do not mix any longer with the average — Bertrand Russell

mean indicates a point midway between extremes, in an older sense signifying a point midway between any two extremes (as of condition, quality, or intensity) but today being confined chiefly to mathematics or statistics in which it may signify either an arithmetical or geometric midpoint, that is, a figure midway between two others (as a lowest and a highest figure in a series of temperature readings) or a figure arrived at by finding the square root of the product of two numbers or quantities

a golden mean between extravagance and miserliness

10 is the arithmetical mean of 4 and 16

8 is the geometric mean of 4 and 16, that is, the square root of 64

median indicates a midpoint in position but is used chiefly in statistics to indicate the point below which there are as many instances as there are above

a median of public opinion

the average pay of five men earning respectively 10, 14, 20, 26, and 40 dollars a day is $22 but the median is only $20 since there are two men earning below and two above this

norm designates the sometimes computed sometimes estimated average performance or achievement or, often, average minimum performance or achievement, of a group, class, or category, set up as the standard for members

demands made upon children of a certain age should be adjusted to the norm for children of that age group

construction workers … protesting the imposition of a 10 percent increase in the working norm — Newsweek

those which fall below the required level of academic decency are encouraged to bring their curricula and degrees up to the norm — W.L.Sperry

par in this connection more frequently refers to the average performance or condition of an individual or established for an individual, analogous to a norm for a group, though sometimes and especially in British use par may refer to an average in amount (as of barometric pressure)

par for a fast typist in English: 120 words

40 pounds a day is considered par for a Holstein — New Yorker

while 200 pounds or slightly thereunder is par for him, he has a tendency toward fatness — E.J.Kahn

- on an average

II. adjective

1. : equaling an arithmetic mean

an average annual rainfall of 20 inches


a. : approximating or resembling an arithmetic mean specifically in being about midway between extremes : not out of the ordinary for members of the group under consideration

served with average merit under Grant — H.E.Nettles

a man of average height

: typical , common , ordinary

not an average wind but a decidedly abnormal one

typical of the middle class at its most average — New York Herald Tribune

b. of a color : medial in value

slightly redder than average mustard tan

3. maritime law : assessed according to the laws of average

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

intransitive verb


a. : to be, on an average

in these waters the fish average larger

: amount to or come to, on an average

losses will average 5000 dollars a year

these poles average 10 feet in length

— sometimes used with out

the gain averaged out to 20 percent

b. of a color : to have a medial value of a specified color

2. : to buy or sell additional shares or commodities when the price falls or rises so as to obtain a more favorable average price — often used with up or to

transitive verb

1. : to do, get, make, spend, have, on the average or as an average sum or quantity

averages 20 inches a year rainfall

average two days a week on the golf course

a writer who averages three stories a month

2. : to find the arithmetic mean of (a series of unequal quantities) : obtain an average of

average the hourly temperature readings


a. : to bring toward the average : reduce or level out to an average

the averaging of tendencies, a movement toward a mean — John Dewey

— sometimes used with out

b. : to divide among a number according to a given proportion

average a loss

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.