Median means middle. When a strip of grass divides one direction of a highway from another, it's called a median because it runs through the middle.

Median comes from the Latin word medius, which also means middle. In math, the median is a number in the middle of a list. In the set 2, 3, 5, 10, 25, the median is 5. The statistical median is often linked to the idea of an average. A town's average income might seem high if there are two extremely rich people who live there. The median will tell you the income of the person halfway through the list.

Definitions of median
  1. adjective
    relating to or situated in or extending toward the middle
    synonyms: medial
    in or near a center or constituting a center; the inner area
  2. adjective
    relating to or constituting the middle value of an ordered set of values (or the average of the middle two in a set with an even number of values)
    “the median value of 17, 20, and 36 is 20”
    “the median income for the year was $15,000”
    synonyms: average
    conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal
  3. adjective
    dividing an animal into right and left halves
    synonyms: medial
    being in or directed toward the midline or mesial plane of the body
  4. noun
    the value below which 50% of the cases fall
    synonyms: median value
    see moresee less
    type of:
    average, norm
    a statistic describing the location of a distribution
  5. noun
    a paved or landscaped dividing area between opposing lanes of travel on a highway
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a part of a structure having some specific characteristic or function
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘median'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Commonly confused words

mean / median / average

Wordsmiths sometimes dislike numbers, or at least have a hard time grasping them. These words offer us an opportunity to better understand numbers and use their terms more precisely in writing and speaking.

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