# mean

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## OTHER WORDS FOR mean

## Idioms about mean

## Origin of mean

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## synonym study for mean

## WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mean

mean , mien## Words nearby mean

## Other definitions for mean (2 of 3)

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## OTHER WORDS FOR mean

## Origin of mean

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## synonym study for mean

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## Other definitions for mean (3 of 3)

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## Origin of mean

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## WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mean

mean , median## MEAN VS. MEDIAN VS. MODE VS. AVERAGE

## What’s the difference between *mean*, *median*, *mode*, and *average*?

In the context of mathematics and statistics, the word *mean* refers to what’s informally called the *average*—the sum of a set of values divided by the number of values. In contrast, the *median* is the middle number in a set of values when those values are arranged from smallest to largest, while the *mode* of a set of values is the most frequently repeated value in the set.

The word *average* is of course also very commonly used in more general ways. In math, though, it’s helpful to use more specific terms when determining the most representative or common value in a set of numbers.

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at an example set of seven values: 2, 3, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9.

To get the *mean* of this set, you’d add up all the values (2+3+3+4+6+8+9=35) and then divide that total by the number of values (7), resulting in a *mean* of 5. This is what most people are referring to when they refer to the *average* of some set of numbers.

To find the *median*, you have to find the one that’s sequentially in the middle. In a set of seven numbers arranged in increasing value, the *median* is the fourth number (since there are three before and three after). In this set (2, 3, 3, **4**, 6, 8, 9), the *median* is 4. When a set has an even number of values, the *median* is the *mean* of the two middle values.

The *mode* is simply the value that shows up the most. In the example set, the *mode* is 3, since it occurs twice and all the other values occur only once.

**Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between mean, median, mode, and average.**

## Quiz yourself on *mean* vs. *median* vs. *mode* vs. *average*!

**Should mean, median, mode, or average be used in the following sentence?**

*The most frequently repeated test score is 80, so it’s the _____ of the set.*

## How to use mean in a sentence

## British Dictionary definitions for mean (1 of 3)

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## Word Origin for mean

## usage for mean

## British Dictionary definitions for mean (2 of 3)

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## Derived forms of mean

meanly, adverbmeanness, noun## Word Origin for mean

## British Dictionary definitions for mean (3 of 3)

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- the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
- another name for average (def. 2) See also geometric mean

## Word Origin for mean

## Scientific definitions for mean

## Cultural definitions for mean (1 of 2)

## Cultural definitions for mean (2 of 2)

In statistics, an average of a group of numbers or data points. With a group of numbers, the mean is obtained by adding them and dividing by the number of numbers in the group. Thus the mean of five, seven, and twelve is eight (twenty-four divided by three). (Compare median and mode.)