Think of the word medium as something in between. In clothing, we have small, medium, and large; in communications, it's what signals travel through from broadcast to receiver; and in spiritual terms, it’s a person who converses with the dead.

The word medium — from the Latin adjective medius, "middle" — has several meanings that all center on the idea of being in between. From the air that carries the broadcast signal, to the person who transmits messages from the dead, to the measurement of the "doneness" of your steak, medium means something that lies between two other points, people, or levels.

Primary Meanings of medium

the surrounding environment
a state that is intermediate between extremes; a middle position
around the middle of a scale of evaluation
a means or instrumentality for storing or communicating information
a liquid with which pigment is mixed by a painter
an occupation for which you are especially well suited
Full Definitions of medium

n the surrounding environment

“fish require an aqueous medium
Type of:
environment, environs, surround, surroundings
the area in which something exists or lives

n an intervening substance through which something is achieved

“the dissolving medium is called a solvent”
show 12 types...
hide 12 types...
dissolvent, dissolver, dissolving agent, resolvent, solvent
a liquid substance capable of dissolving other substances
acetone, dimethyl ketone, propanone
the simplest ketone; a highly inflammable liquid widely used as an organic solvent and as material for making plastics
a colorless volatile flammable liquid with an almond odor that is made from chlorine and benzene; used as a solvent and in the production of phenol and DDT and other organic compounds
carbolic acid, hydroxybenzene, oxybenzene, phenol, phenylic acid
a toxic white soluble crystalline acidic derivative of benzene; used in manufacturing and as a disinfectant and antiseptic; poisonous if taken internally
carbon tet, carbon tetrachloride, perchloromethane, tetrachloromethane
a colorless nonflammable liquid used as a solvent for fats and oils; because of its toxicity its use as a cleaning fluid or fire extinguisher has declined
a colorless flammable liquid alkane derived from petroleum and used as a solvent
(archaic) a solvent
any of various volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures; used chiefly as solvents
a solvent that removes a substance (usually from a surface)
alcahest, alkahest, universal solvent
hypothetical universal solvent once sought by alchemists
methylbenzene, toluene
a colorless flammable liquid obtained from petroleum or coal tar; used as a solvent for gums and lacquers and in high-octane fuels
xylene, xylol
a colorless flammable volatile liquid hydrocarbon used as a solvent
Type of:
the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists

n (bacteriology) a nutrient substance (solid or liquid) that is used to cultivate micro-organisms

culture medium
agar, nutrient agar
any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent
blood agar
a culture medium containing whole blood as the nutrient
Type of:
food, nutrient
any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue

n (biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed

contrast material, contrast medium
a substance that is opaque to x-rays; when administered it allows a radiologist to examine the organ or tissue it fills
Type of:
the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists

n a state that is intermediate between extremes; a middle position

“a happy medium
Type of:
the way something is with respect to its main attributes

adj around the middle of a scale of evaluation

medium bombers”
average, intermediate
being within reasonable or average limits; not excessive or extreme

adj (meat) cooked until there is just a little pink meat inside

having been prepared for eating by the application of heat

n a means or instrumentality for storing or communicating information

show 18 types...
hide 18 types...
a medium for the expression or achievement of something
a medium for written communication
celluloid, cinema, film
a medium that disseminates moving pictures
print media
a medium that disseminates printed matter
data-storage medium, storage medium
a medium for storing information
telecom, telecommunication
(often plural) systems used in transmitting messages over a distance electronically
album, record album
one or more recordings issued together; originally released on 12-inch phonograph records (usually with attractive record covers) and later on cassette audiotape and compact disc
silver screen
the film industry
press, public press
the print media responsible for gathering and publishing news in the form of newspapers or magazines
magnetic medium, magnetic storage, magnetic storage medium
any storage medium in which different patterns of magnetization are used to represent stored bits or bytes of information
journalism, news media
newspapers and magazines collectively
samizdat, underground press
a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature
telephone, telephony
transmitting speech at a distance
communicating at a distance by electric transmission over wire
transmission by radio waves
taking part in a radio or tv program
communicates two or more signals over a common channel
concept album
an album whose recordings are unified by some theme (instrumental or lyrical or narrative or compositional)
Type of:
instrumentality, instrumentation
an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end

n an intervening substance through which signals can travel as a means for communication

aether, ether
a medium that was once supposed to fill all space and to support the propagation of electromagnetic waves
air, airwave
medium for radio and television broadcasting
Type of:
communicating, communication
the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

n someone who serves as an intermediary between the living and the dead

“he consulted several mediums
sensitive, spiritualist
Type of:
a person apparently sensitive to things beyond the natural range of perception

n (usually plural) transmissions that are disseminated widely to the public

mass medium
broadcast medium, broadcasting
a medium that disseminates via telecommunications
Type of:
communication by means of transmitted signals

n a liquid with which pigment is mixed by a painter

magilp, megilp
a medium for oil-paints; linseed oil mixed with mastic varnish or turpentine
Type of:
a substance that is liquid at room temperature and pressure

n an occupation for which you are especially well suited

Type of:
business, job, line, line of work, occupation
the principal activity in your life that you do to earn money

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.