Mediocre is an adjective that means "merely adequate" or "of only ordinary quality." A "C" is a mediocre grade for students who are fair to middling.

The roots of the adjective mediocre are from the Latin medial, "middle," and ocris, "mountain." If you think about it, the middle of a mountain is neither up nor down and neither here nor there — just somewhere in between. The definition of mediocre is "of ordinary quality," "merely adequate," and "average." Another word that shares the same root is mediocracy, which means "government run by mediocre people" — an all-too-common condition.

Definitions of mediocre

adj moderate to inferior in quality

“they improved the quality from mediocre to above average”
of low or inferior quality

adj lacking exceptional quality or ability

average, fair, middling
not exceptional in any way especially in quality or ability or size or degree

adj poor to middling in quality

“there have been good and mediocre and bad artists”
having undesirable or negative qualities

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.