Definition of middling in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmidliNG/


1Moderate or average in size, amount, or rank: the village contained no poor households but a lot of middling ones
More example sentences
  • And yet, by the end of the century, its economy had declined to occupy a middling rank among Western industrialized nations, with its GDP per head below the average for the European Union.
  • Coming from a family of middling rank, he received little formal education, but soon developed a penchant for self-improvement and an ambition to better himself.
  • Below that level, it is probable that there was much greater continuity, though we face the predictable problem that the evidence reveals little about the middling ranks of society.
informal OK, so-so, ‘comme ci, comme ça’, fair-to-middling, plain-vanilla
1.1Neither very good nor very bad: he had had a fair to middling season
More example sentences
  • Colors are properly saturated and vibrant, black levels are solid, though the sharpness is good to middling.
  • The other candidates were all fair to middling.
  • To say it has been a whirlwind for the 26-year-old would be like saying Franz Ferdinand's year was, well, fair to middling.
1.2 [predicative] informal (Of a person) in reasonably good but not perfect health.


Bulk goods of medium grade, especially flour of medium fineness.
Example sentences
  • The DF fed in this study contained 75% wheat middlings and 25% ground food waste collected from retail groceries.
  • During winter, the heifers grazed dormant crested wheatgrass and were supplemented with wheat middlings and alfalfa hay.
  • We're evaluating the production performance of fish fed these alternative carbohydrates to see whether they perform as well as fish fed diets that contain wheat or wheat middlings.


[as submodifier] informal, dated
Fairly or moderately: middling rich
More example sentences
  • A quick weather report for this morning is grey - headlights required - rain varying from slight drizzle to middling continuous.
  • In his study of fruit flies he had found that male fruit flies tend to have either lots of hairs on their bottoms or very few; female fruit flies have just middling hairy bottoms.
  • I finished my writing course, which was middling interesting, I guess.



Pronunciation: /ˈmidliNGlē/
Example sentences
  • A middlingly good-looking late-twenties chap like myself can't fail.
  • Or if you're middlingly unlucky, you get a roaring infection and die painfully.
  • I have a friend called Peter, a television producer of modest height, middlingly bald, a little over 40, who dresses according to no dictates other than those of his own comfort.


Late Middle English (originally Scots): probably from mid- + the adverbial suffix -ling.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mid·dling

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