average

\ \ [15] The word average has a devious history. It began in Arabic, as ‘awārīya, the plural of ‘awār, a noun derived from the verb ‘āramutilate’; this was used as a commercial term, denoting ‘damaged merchandise’. The first European language to adopt it was Italian, as avaria, and it passed via Old French avarie into English (where in the 16th century it acquired its -age ending, probably by association with the then semantically similar damage).
\ \ Already by this time it had come to signify the ‘financial loss incurred through damage to goods in transit’, and this passed in the 17th century to the ‘equal sharing of such loss by those with a financial interest in the goods’, and eventually, in the 18th century, to the current (mathematical and general) sense of ‘mean’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • average — n Average, mean, median, norm, par denote something and usually a number, a quantity, or a condition that represents a middle point between extremes. Of these words average, mean, median, and par are also used as adjectives. Average is an… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • average — [av′ər ij, av′rij] n. [altered (by assoc. with ME average, money rent paid in place of service by the tenant with his horses < aver, draft horse) < OFr avarie, damage to ship or goods, mooring charges < OIt avaria < Ar ʿ awār, damaged …   English World dictionary

  • average — I (midmost) adjective center, centermost, intermediate, mean, mean proportioned, medial, median, mediate, medium, mid, middle, middle class, middle grade, middlemost, middling associated concepts: average annual earnings or wages, average capital …   Law dictionary

  • Average — Av er*age, n. [OF. average, LL. averagium, prob. fr. OF. aver, F. avoir, property, horses, cattle, etc.; prop. infin., to have, from L. habere to have. Cf. F. av[ e]rage small cattle, and avarie (perh. of different origin) damage to ship or cargo …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Average — Av er*age, a. 1. Pertaining to an average or mean; medial; containing a mean proportion; of a mean size, quality, ability, etc.; ordinary; usual; as, an average rate of profit; an average amount of rain; the average Englishman; beings of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Average — Av er*age, v. i. To form, or exist in, a mean or medial sum or quantity; to amount to, or to be, on an average; as, the losses of the owners will average twenty five dollars each; these spars average ten feet in length. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • average — [adj1] normal, typical boilerplate*, common, commonplace, customary, dime a dozen*, everyday, fair, fair to middling*, familiar, garden*, garden variety*, general, humdrum*, intermediate, mainstream, mediocre, medium, middle of the road*,… …   New thesaurus

  • average — ► NOUN 1) the result obtained by adding several amounts together and then dividing the total by the number of amounts. 2) a usual amount or level. ► ADJECTIVE 1) constituting an average. 2) usual or ordinary. 3) mediocre. ► …   English terms dictionary

  • Average — Av er*age, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Averaged} (?); p. pr. & vb. n. {Averaging}.] 1. To find the mean of, when sums or quantities are unequal; to reduce to a mean. [1913 Webster] 2. To divide among a number, according to a given proportion; as, to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • avérage — 1. (a vé ra j ) s. m. Terme de commerce. La moyenne avérée, vraie, reconnue telle, et en général la moyenne. Sur trois ans l avérage a été de.... ÉTYMOLOGIE    Avérer. avérage 2. (entrée créée par le supplément) (a vé ra j ) s. m. Nom, dans le… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • average — (del inglés; pronunciamos averás ) sustantivo masculino 1. Área: deporte Promedio, término medio: Gana el Barcelona por gol average …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

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