If something is middling, it isn't terrible and it isn't great — it's mediocre. You might describe your chances of beating your dad at tennis as middling.

You'll frequently find this adjective in the phrase "fair to middling," or sometimes "good to middling." This American colloquialism has been used since the early 17th century to mean "slightly above average," and it originally referred to the quality of farm goods. Today you can use it to rate or grade anything, so you might say, "I thought this peach would be juicy and perfectly ripe, but it's fair to middling."

Definitions of middling
  1. adjective
    lacking exceptional quality or ability
    “the performance was middling at best”
    synonyms: average, fair, mediocre
    not exceptional in any way especially in quality or ability or size or degree
  2. adverb
    to a moderately sufficient extent or degree
    synonyms: fairly, jolly, moderately, passably, pretty, reasonably, somewhat
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    immoderately, unreasonably
    to a degree that exceeds the bounds or reason or moderation
  3. noun
    any commodity of intermediate quality or size (especially when coarse particles of ground wheat are mixed with bran)
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    type of:
    commodity, good, trade good
    articles of commerce
Word Family

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