mean vs median : Common Errors in English

mean or median

To find the mean (or average) of a series of numbers, for example 1,2,3,4,5 & 6, add them all together for a total of 21; then divide by the number of numbers (6) to give the mean (or average) of 3.5.In contrast, when half the data of a set are above a point and half below, that point is the median. The difference between mean and median can be quite significant, but one often sees the terms used wrongly even in technical contexts.
Facebook Twitter Google +


  • n  an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n
  • v  mean or intend to express or convey
    You never understand what I mean!
  • v  have as a logical consequence
    The water shortage means that we have to stop taking long showers
  • v  denote or connote
    `maison' means `house' in French
    An example sentence would show what this word means
  • v  have in mind as a purpose
    I mean no harm
    I only meant to help you
  • v  have a specified degree of importance
    My ex-husband means nothing to me
    Happiness means everything
  • v  intend to refer to
    Yes, I meant you when I complained about people who gossip!
  • v  destine or designate for a certain purpose
    These flowers were meant for you
  • s  approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value
    the mean annual rainfall
  • s  characterized by malice
    in a mean mood
  • s  having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    taking a mean advantage
    chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare
    something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics
  • s  excellent
    famous for a mean backhand
  • s  marked by poverty befitting a beggar
    a mean hut
  • s  (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity
    a mean person
  • s  (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt
  • s  of no value or worth

  • n  the value below which 50% of the cases fall
  • s  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
  • s  dividing an animal into right and left halves
  • s  relating to or situated in or extending toward the middle
News & Articles

  • Census: Median age in NY in 2012 was 38.1
    New Census figures show the median age in New York state last year was 38.1, unchanged from 2011 and a bit higher than the national median. Data released Thursday shows the nation's median age was 37.4 ...
    June 14, 2013 - Associated Press via Yahoo! News
  • State's Median Age Higher Than Nation's
    New Census figures show the median age in New York state last year was 38.1, unchanged from 2011 and a bit higher than the national median.
    June 14, 2013 - WWNY - WNYF Watertown
  • San Diego Median Housing Prices Rise in May
    The median housing prices in San Diego continued rising at a nice clip in May, according to two recent reports. Dataquick, the La Jolla real estate research firm, reported the median for San Diego last month was $406,500, up 1.6 percent from April’s median, and 21 percent from the median price in May 2012.
    June 13, 2013 - San Diego Business Journal