What Does Average Mean?
Average can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb.
Average is a number that defines the middle value in a group of items. For instance, you could reference the modal average, mean average, or median average. Typically, the average refers to the arithmetic mean.
The GDP of California has surpassed the national average.
It can also be used to describe a norm.
Her height was the median average for the group.
Again, the word pertains to either the arithmetic mean or something typical and ordinary.
The average temperature in Qatar is above 30 degrees Celsius.
The avg. mortgage rate is expected to increase, due to a rise in demand for houses.
In both of the examples above, the word average has been used to describe an arithmetic mean. Sometimes, the word can be used to describe something typical.
The average person does not know the worldwide cost of medical care.
In this context, the word refers to the common man or woman.
The football was of average size.
This means that the football had customary proportions.
As a verb, the word means, “to take the average” or “to have as an arithmetic mean.”
The annual growth rate averaged 7%.
Average the three numbers.
Where You’ll Find Averages
Wikipedia defines average as a single number that represents other numbers. It’s used in mathematics to refer to the mode, mean, or the median. It’s primarily found in discussions of statistics—although you’ll also see the term used in government reports, scientific studies, and news articles.
The History of the Word
According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, the word average first appeared in the late 15th century. It originated within the maritime industry, and reflected shared losses from damaged merchandise. Due to cosmopolitan origins, the English word was influenced by words in many different languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, German, and Dutch.
The meaning referring to the calculation of arithmetic mean first appeared in 1755.
Synonyms for Average
- a dime a dozen
- fair to middling
- middle of the road
- run of the mill
Examples of the Word in Context
“Over time, however, costs have soared while response rates have declined. The average cost, in 2020 dollars, to count one housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to about $92 in 2010, a Government Accountability Office analysis found.”
—The New York Times
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income was $73,298 in 2014, the latest year for which complete data is available. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Depending on your family situation and where you live, average household income can vary dramatically.”
“Consumer Price Index CPI in the United States averaged 113.65 Index Points from 1950 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 257.94 Index Points in November of 2019 and a record low of 23.51 Index Points in January of 1950.”
Examples of the Abbreviation in Context
- The avg. price of a baseball is $72, meaning baseballs costs the MLB an avg. of $6 million dollars per season.
- The weatherman reports that the av. temperatures are expected to rise this summer.
- The avg. life expectancy is expected to increase due to improvements in health care.
- The av. citizen would like limited government oversight.
- An avg. of 3,000 people attend the yearly concert.
- The avg. man is more concerned with security than previous studies had indicated.
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