[ mee-dee-uhm ]
See synonyms for: mediummediamediums 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.

  1. an intervening substance, as air, through which a force acts or an effect is produced.

  2. the element that is the natural habitat of an organism.

  3. surrounding objects, conditions, or influences; environment.

  4. an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which something is conveyed or accomplished: Words are a medium of expression.

  5. one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.

  6. Biology. the substance in which specimens are displayed or preserved.

  7. Also called culture medium. Bacteriology. a liquid or solidified nutrient material suitable for the cultivation of microorganisms.

  8. a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living.

  9. Fine Arts.

    • Painting. a liquid with which pigments are mixed.

    • the material or technique with which an artist works: the medium of watercolor.

  10. a size of printing paper, 18½ × 23½ inches (47 × 60 centimeters) in England, 18 × 23 to 19 × 25 inches (46 × 58 to 48 × 64 centimeters) in America.

  11. Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 17½ × 22 inches (44 × 56 centimeters).

  12. Also called medium strip .Midland U.S. median strip.

  13. 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

First recorded in 1575–85; from Latin: “the middle,” noun use of neuter of medius “middle”; see mid1

usage note For medium

7. See media1.

Other words for medium

Words Nearby medium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use medium in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for medium


/ (ˈmiːdɪəm) /

  1. midway between extremes; average: a medium size

  2. (of a colour) reflecting or transmitting a moderate amount of light: a medium red Compare light 1 (def. 29), dark (def. 2)

nounplural -dia (-dɪə) or -diums
  1. an intermediate or middle state, degree, or condition; mean: the happy medium

  2. an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect; vehicle: air is a medium for sound

  1. a means or agency for communicating or diffusing information, news, etc, to the public: television is a powerful medium

  2. a person supposedly used as a spiritual intermediary between the dead and the living

  3. the substance in which specimens of animals and plants are preserved or displayed

  4. biology short for culture medium

  5. the substance or surroundings in which an organism naturally lives or grows

  6. art

    • the category of a work of art, as determined by its materials and methods of production: the medium of wood engraving

    • the materials used in a work of art

  7. any solvent in which pigments are mixed and thinned

  8. 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)

Origin of 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

Scientific definitions for medium


[ dē-əm ]

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.

Other 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.