See more synonyms for medium on
noun, plural me·di·a [mee-dee-uh] /ˈmi di ə/ for 1–9, 11, me·di·ums for 1–11, 14.
  1. a middle state or condition; mean.
  2. something intermediate in nature or degree.
  3. an intervening substance, as air, through which a force acts or an effect is produced.
  4. the element that is the natural habitat of an organism.
  5. surrounding objects, conditions, or influences; environment.
  6. an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which something is conveyed or accomplished: Words are a medium of expression.
  7. one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.
  8. Biology. the substance in which specimens are displayed or preserved.
  9. Also called culture medium. Bacteriology. a liquid or solidified nutrient material suitable for the cultivation of microorganisms.
  10. a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living.
  11. Fine Arts.
    1. Painting.a liquid with which pigments are mixed.
    2. the material or technique with which an artist works: the medium of watercolor.
  12. a size of printing paper, 18½ × 23½ inches (47 × 60 cm) in England, 18 × 23 to 19 × 25 inches (46 × 58 to 48 × 64 cm) in America.
  13. Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 17½ × 22 inches (44 × 56 cm).
  14. Also called medium strip. Midland U.S. median strip.
  15. in medium, Movies, Television. with the principal actors in the middle distance: The scene was shot in medium.
  1. about halfway between extremes, as of degree, amount, quality, position, or size: Cook over medium heat. He is of medium height.

Origin of medium

1575–85; < Latin: the middle, noun use of neuter of medius middle. See mid1
Can be confusedmedia median medium mediums (see usage note at media1)

Synonyms for medium

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Usage note

7. See media1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for medium

Contemporary Examples of medium

Historical Examples of medium

British Dictionary definitions for medium


  1. midway between extremes; averagea medium size
  2. (of a colour) reflecting or transmitting a moderate amount of lighta medium red Compare light 1 (def. 29), dark (def. 2)
noun plural -dia (-dɪə) or -diums
  1. an intermediate or middle state, degree, or condition; meanthe happy medium
  2. an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect; vehicleair is a medium for sound
  3. a means or agency for communicating or diffusing information, news, etc, to the publictelevision is a powerful medium
  4. a person supposedly used as a spiritual intermediary between the dead and the living
  5. the substance in which specimens of animals and plants are preserved or displayed
  6. biology short for culture medium
  7. the substance or surroundings in which an organism naturally lives or grows
  8. art
    1. the category of a work of art, as determined by its materials and methods of productionthe medium of wood engraving
    2. the materials used in a work of art
  9. any solvent in which pigments are mixed and thinned
  10. any one of various sizes of writing or printing paper, esp 18 1/2 by 23 1/2 inches or 17 1/2 by 22 inches (small medium)
See also mediums

Word Origin for medium

C16: from Latin: neuter singular of medius middle


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

Word Origin and History for medium

1580s, "a middle ground, quality, or degree," from Latin medium "the middle, midst, center; interval," noun use of neuter of adjective medius (see medial (adj.)). Meaning "intermediate agency, channel of communication" is from c.1600. That of "person who conveys spiritual messages" first recorded 1853, from notion of "substance through which something is conveyed." Artistic sense (oil, watercolors, etc.) is from 1854. Happy medium is the "golden mean," Horace's aurea mediocritas.


1660s, "average," from medium (n.). The Latin adjective was medius. Meaning "intermediate" is from 1796. As a size designation from 1711. as a designation of cooked meat, it is attested from 1931, short for medium-rare (1881).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

medium in Medicine


n. pl. me•di•ums
  1. Something, such as an intermediate course of action, that occupies a position or represents a condition midway between extremes.
  2. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.
  3. An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred.
  4. The substance, often nutritive, in which a specific organism lives and thrives.
  5. A culture medium.
  6. A filtering substance, such as filter paper.
  1. Occurring or being between two degrees, amounts, or quantities; intermediate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

medium in Science


Plural media
  1. A substance, such as agar, in which bacteria or other microorganisms are grown for scientific purposes.
  2. A substance that makes possible the transfer of energy from one location to another, especially through waves. For example, matter of sufficient density can be a medium for sound waves, which transfer mechanical energy. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with medium


see happy medium.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.