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[av-er-ij, av-rij] /ˈæv ər ɪdʒ, ˈæv rɪdʒ/
a quantity, rating, or the like that represents or approximates an arithmetic mean:
Her golf average is in the 90s. My average in science has gone from B to C this semester.
a typical amount, rate, degree, etc.; norm.
Statistics. arithmetic mean.
Mathematics. a quantity intermediate to a set of quantities.
  1. a charge paid by the master of a ship for such services as pilotage or towage.
  2. an expense, partial loss, or damage to a ship or cargo.
  3. the incidence of such an expense or loss to the owners or their insurers.
  4. an equitable apportionment among all the interested parties of such an expense or loss.
of or relating to an average; estimated by average; forming an average:
The average rainfall there is 180 inches.
typical; common; ordinary:
The average secretary couldn't handle such a workload. His grades were nothing special, only average.
verb (used with object), averaged, averaging.
to find an average value for (a variable quantity); reduce to a mean:
We averaged the price of milk in five neighborhood stores.
(of a variable quantity) to have as its arithmetic mean:
Wheat averages 56 pounds to a bushel.
to do or have on the average:
He averages seven hours of sleep a night.
verb (used without object), averaged, averaging.
to have or show an average:
to average as expected.
Verb phrases
average down, to purchase more of a security or commodity at a lower price to reduce the average cost of one's holdings.
average out,
  1. to come out of a security or commodity transaction with a profit or without a loss.
  2. to reach an average or other figure:
    His taxes should average out to about a fifth of his income.
average up, to purchase more of a security or commodity at a higher price to take advantage of a contemplated further rise in prices.
on the / an average, usually; typically:
She can read 50 pages an hour, on the average.
Origin of average
1485-95; earlier averay charge on goods shipped, orig. duty (< Middle French avarie < Old Italian avaria < Arabic ʿawārīyah damaged merchandise), with -age replacing -ay
Related forms
averageable, adjective
averagely, adverb
averageness, noun
subaverage, adjective
subaveragely, adverb
superaverage, adjective
superaverageness, noun
unaveraged, adjective
underaverage, adjective
well-averaged, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for average
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The men are taller than the average, and the women, relatively, taller than the men.

  • I guess I could do it and get away with it as well as the average.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • They average about the same as they do in anything else, mostly good, I think.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • He's too blamed comprehensive for the average boy of my age.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • If he truly was the average age of the rest of the class there was nothing for him to be angry about.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
British Dictionary definitions for average


/ˈævərɪdʒ; ˈævrɪdʒ/
the typical or normal amount, quality, degree, etc: above average in intelligence
Also called arithmetic mean. the result obtained by adding the numbers or quantities in a set and dividing the total by the number of members in the set: the average of 3, 4, and 8 is 5
(of a continuously variable ratio, such as speed) the quotient of the differences between the initial and final values of the two quantities that make up the ratio: his average over the journey was 30 miles per hour
(maritime law)
  1. a loss incurred or damage suffered by a ship or its cargo at sea
  2. the equitable apportionment of such loss among the interested parties
(often pl) (stock exchange) a simple or weighted average of the prices of a selected group of securities computed in order to facilitate market comparisons
on average, on the average, on an average, usually; typically: on average, he goes twice a week
usual or typical
mediocre or inferior: his performance was only average
constituting a numerical average: the average age, an average speed
approximately typical of a range of values: the average contents of a matchbox
(transitive) to obtain or estimate a numerical average of
(transitive) to assess the general quality of
(transitive) to perform or receive a typical number of: to average eight hours' work a day
(transitive) to divide up proportionately: they averaged the profits among the staff
(transitive) to amount to or be on average: the children averaged 15 years of age
(intransitive) (stock exchange) to purchase additional securities in a holding whose price has fallen (average down) or risen (average up) in anticipation of a speculative profit after further increases in price
Derived Forms
averagely, adverb
averageness, noun
Word Origin
C15 averay loss arising from damage to ships or cargoes (shared equitably among all concerned, hence the modern sense), from Old Italian avaria, ultimately from Arabic awār damage, blemish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for average

late 15c., "financial loss incurred through damage to goods in transit," from French avarie "damage to ship," and Italian avaria; a word from 12c. Mediterranean maritime trade (cf. Spanish averia; other Germanic forms, Dutch avarij, German haferei, etc., also are from Romanic languages), of uncertain origin. Sometimes traced to Arabic 'arwariya "damaged merchandise," but this might as easily be a borrowing of the word from the Franks. Meaning shifted to "equal sharing of such loss by the interested parties." Transferred sense of "statement of a medial estimate" is first recorded 1735. The mathematical extension is from 1755.


1770; see average (n.).


1769, from average (n.). Related: Averaged; averaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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average in Medicine

average av·er·age (āv'ər-ĭj, āv'rĭj)

  1. A number that typifies a set of numbers of which it is a function.

  2. See arithmetic mean.

  3. An intermediate level or degree.

  1. Of, relating to, or constituting an average.

  2. Being intermediate between extremes, as on a scale.

v. av·er·aged, av·er·ag·ing, av·er·ag·es
  1. To calculate the average of.

  2. To do or have an average of.

  3. To distribute proportionately, as over a period of time.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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average in Science
A number, especially the arithmetic mean, that is derived from and considered typical or representative of a set of numbers. Compare arithmetic mean, median, mode.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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average in Culture

average definition

A single number that represents a set of numbers. Means, medians, and modes are kinds of averages; usually, however, the term average refers to a mean.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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