Definition of average in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈav(ə)rij/
(abbreviation avg.)


1A number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number: the housing prices there are twice the national average Compare with mean3 (sense 1 of the noun).
More example sentences
  • Results are above national averages, with pupils particularly shining in this summer's tests for 14-year-olds.
  • Pupils continue to achieve well in Years 1 and 2 and reach standards in reading, maths and science that match and sometimes exceed national averages and the results of similar schools.
  • Southampton has made great strides over the past six years in closing the gap between our results and the national averages, and we are proud of this achievement.
mean, median, mode;
norm, standard, rule, par
1.1An amount, standard, level, or rate regarded as usual or ordinary: the month’s snowfall is below average they take about thirty minutes on average
More example sentences
  • Even after the recent rate hikes, real interest rates remain below average compared with consumer price inflation.
  • He warned the emission levels were on average in excess of 100 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • On average, SUVs consume over 6 miles per gallon more than a family station wagon.
2The apportionment of financial liability resulting from loss of or damage to a ship or its cargo.
Example sentences
  • Particular average signifies the damage or partial loss happening to the ship, or cargo, or freight.
  • But in all other cases where a ship is intentionally run on shore for the common safety, the consequent loss or damage shall be allowed as general average.
  • An example of particular average is fire damage to a vessel and cargo aboard the vessel.
2.1Reduction in the amount payable under an insurance policy, e.g., in respect of partial loss.
Example sentences
  • In marine insurance, in the case of a partial loss, or emergency repairs to the vessel, average may be declared.


1Constituting the result obtained by adding together several quantities and then dividing this total by the number of quantities: the average temperature in May was 64°F
More example sentences
  • As a result, the average salary of women constitutes two thirds of men's salaries.
  • The sliding velocity was obtained by dividing the average value of the lengths of tracks by the given period of time.
  • He pointed out that cold weather over the remainder of the year could bring the average total temperature down.
1.1Of the usual or ordinary standard, level, or quantity: a woman of average height
More example sentences
  • Those rates beat the average level of ownership in most European countries.
  • He was of average height by Aetheris standards, with a swimmer's physique, and a handsome face.
  • It is a long way, and the average height above sea level is more than 2000 metres.
ordinary, standard, normal, typical, regular;
1.2Having qualities that are seen as typical of a particular person or thing: the average teenager prefers comfort to high fashion
More example sentences
  • According to the survey, the quality of the average diet of Chinese people has improved significantly.
  • Fourth, one has to face the fact that the quality of the average PhD is not as good as it might be.
  • It is even so when they just arrived in a city in which the average water quality is not as good.
1.3Mediocre; not very good: a very average director who made very average movies
More example sentences
  • What's wrong with being average and mediocre in studies, if you're excellent at life skills?
  • Some of my time in the weekend was spent watching average movies.
  • This week's quote is from a similarly average movie.
mediocre, second-rate, undistinguished, ordinary, middle-of-the-road, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, unmemorable, indifferent, pedestrian, lackluster, forgettable, amateurish
informal OK, so-so, 'comme ci, comme ça', fair-to-middling, no great shakes, underwhelming, plain-vanilla


1 [with object] Achieve or amount to as an average rate or amount over a period of time: annual inflation averaged 2.4 percent
More example sentences
  • Angelini said mainland occupancy rates averaged 66 per cent in the first four months of the year.
  • On agricultural goods the custom duty rate will average 74 per cent, the same as last year.
  • At the nearby Lady Tennyson small amounts of copper ore averaging twenty-five to thirty percent were also raised.
1.1Calculate or estimate the average of (figures or measurements): their earnings, averaged out over the month, were only $62 a week
More example sentences
  • Peak exercise variables were calculated by averaging the final 30 seconds of exercise.
  • In this case, the running average was calculated by averaging each point with its neighbor on either side.
  • Mean values for each trait were calculated by averaging the population replicates for each species.
1.2 [no object] (average out) Result in an even distribution; even out: it is reasonable to hope that the results will average out
More example sentences
  • Grown-ups burn more than kids; but it all averages out: 14 floor lamps per person, lit round the clock.
  • It probably all averages out, with some fluctuations.
  • It is always difficult with a new school in a new area, you can never get it spot on, but the problem does average out over a few years so that there are only local children at the school.
1.3 [no object] (average out at/to) Result in an average figure of: the cost should average out to about $6 per page
More example sentences
  • While I can appreciate that some tenants may be in temporary difficulties, the total figure is now averaging out at £5 for each council house we own, and this represents a very large sum of money.
  • Now, my circulation figures average out to about 150,000-200,000 readers per month.
  • The top six polls' latest results average out at 40.9 percent for the ruling coalition.



Pronunciation: /ˈav(ə)rəjlē/
Example sentences
  • And yes I did lose a loved one that way, so I admit to being rather more than averagely concerned about the issue.
  • Almost everything he wrote still holds a central place in the piano repertoire, and a not insignificant proportion of his work is playable by averagely skilled amateurs.
  • For one averagely hungry person, use two eggs and 1/4 cup of milk.


Late 15th century: from French avarie 'damage to ship or cargo', earlier 'customs duty', from Italian avaria, from Arabic 'awār 'damage to goods'; the suffix -age is on the pattern of damage. Originally denoting a charge or customs duty payable by the owner of goods to be shipped, the term later denoted the financial liability from goods lost or damaged at sea, and specifically the equitable apportionment of this between the owners of the vessel and the cargo (late 16th century); this gave rise to the general sense of the equalizing out of gains and losses by calculating the mean (mid 18th century).

  • Originally a shipping term, meaning either the duty payable by the owner of goods about to be shipped or the financial liability for any goods lost or damaged at sea, average came into English in the 15th century from French avarie ‘damage to a ship or cargo, customs duty’. The ultimate source was Arabic awar ‘damage to goods’. All this may seem a long way from the modern meaning of average, but the word came to be applied to the fair splitting of the financial liability between the owners of the vessel and the owners of the cargo, which in time led to the modern senses.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: av·er·age

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