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mode

1
[ mohd ]
/ moʊd /
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See synonyms for: mode / modest / modes on Thesaurus.com

noun
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Origin of mode

1
First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English mod(e), from Old French or directly from Latin modus “measured amount, limit, manner, kind, tone”

synonym study for mode

1. See method.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mode

1. mode , module2. mode , mood

Other definitions for mode (2 of 2)

mode2
[ mohd ]
/ moʊd /

noun
fashion or style in manners, dress, etc.: He was much concerned to keep up with the latest mode.
a light gray or drab color.
adjective

Origin of mode

2
First recorded in 1635–45; from French, from Latin modus; see origin at mode1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

MODE VS. MEDIAN VS. MEAN VS. AVERAGE

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Should mode, median, mean, 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 mode in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mode

mode
/ (məʊd) /

noun

Word Origin for mode

C14: from Latin modus measure, manner
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

Medical definitions for mode

mode
[ mōd ]

n.
The value or item occurring most frequently in a series of observations or statistical data.
The number or range of numbers in a mathematical set that occurs the most frequently.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for mode

mode
[ mōd ]

The value that occurs most frequently in a data set. For example, in the set 125, 140, 172, 164, 140, 110, the mode is 140. Compare arithmetic mean average median.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for mode

mode

In statistics, the most frequently appearing value in a set of numbers or data points. In the numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 4, 9, 6, 8, and 6, the mode is 6, because it appears more often than any of the other figures. (See average; compare mean and median.)

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