Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[mee-dee-uh m] /ˈmi di əm/
noun, plural media
[mee-dee-uh] /ˈmi di ə/ (Show IPA),
for 1–9, 11, mediums for 1–11, 14.
a middle state or condition; mean.
something intermediate in nature or degree.
an intervening substance, as air, through which a force acts or an effect is produced.
the element that is the natural habitat of an organism.
surrounding objects, conditions, or influences; environment.
an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which something is conveyed or accomplished:
Words are a medium of expression.
one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.
Biology. the substance in which specimens are displayed or preserved.
Also called culture medium. Bacteriology. a liquid or solidified nutrient material suitable for the cultivation of microorganisms.
a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living.
Fine Arts.
  1. Painting. a liquid with which pigments are mixed.
  2. the material or technique with which an artist works:
    the medium of watercolor.
a size of printing paper, 18½ × 23½ inches (47 × 60 cm) in England, 18 × 23 to 19 × 25 inches (46 × 58 to 48 × 64 cm) in America.
Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 17½ × 22 inches (44 × 56 cm).
Also called medium strip. Midland U.S. median strip.
in medium, Movies, Television. with the principal actors in the middle distance:
The scene was shot in medium.
about halfway between extremes, as of degree, amount, quality, position, or size:
Cook over medium heat. He is of medium height.
Origin of medium
1575-85; < Latin: the middle, noun use of neuter of medius middle. See mid1
Can be confused
media, median, medium, mediums (see usage note at media)
16. average, mean, middling.
Usage note
7. See media1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for medium
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for medium


midway between extremes; average: a medium size
(of a colour) reflecting or transmitting a moderate amount of light: a medium red Compare light1 (sense 29), dark (sense 2)
noun (pl) -dia (-dɪə), -diums
an intermediate or middle state, degree, or condition; mean: the happy medium
an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect; vehicle: air is a medium for sound
a means or agency for communicating or diffusing information, news, etc, to the public: television is a powerful medium
a person supposedly used as a spiritual intermediary between the dead and the living
the substance in which specimens of animals and plants are preserved or displayed
(biology) short for culture medium
the substance or surroundings in which an organism naturally lives or grows
  1. the category of a work of art, as determined by its materials and methods of production: the medium of wood engraving
  2. the materials used in a work of art
any solvent in which pigments are mixed and thinned
any one of various sizes of writing or printing paper, esp 181/2 by 231/2 inches or 171/2 by 22 inches (small medium)
See also mediums
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: neuter singular of medius middle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for medium

1580s, "a middle ground, quality, or degree," from Latin medium "the middle, midst, center; interval," noun use of neuter of adjective medius (see medial (adj.)). Meaning "intermediate agency, channel of communication" is from c.1600. That of "person who conveys spiritual messages" first recorded 1853, from notion of "substance through which something is conveyed." Artistic sense (oil, watercolors, etc.) is from 1854. Happy medium is the "golden mean," Horace's aurea mediocritas.


1660s, "average," from medium (n.). The Latin adjective was medius. Meaning "intermediate" is from 1796. As a size designation from 1711. as a designation of cooked meat, it is attested from 1931, short for medium-rare (1881).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
medium in Medicine

medium me·di·um (mē'dē-əm)
n. pl. me·di·ums or me·di·a (-dē-ə)

  1. Something, such as an intermediate course of action, that occupies a position or represents a condition midway between extremes.

  2. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.

  3. An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred.

  4. The substance, often nutritive, in which a specific organism lives and thrives.

  5. A culture medium.

  6. A filtering substance, such as filter paper.

Occurring or being between two degrees, amounts, or quantities; intermediate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
medium in Science
Plural media
  1. A substance, such as agar, in which bacteria or other microorganisms are grown for scientific purposes.

  2. A substance that makes possible the transfer of energy from one location to another, especially through waves. For example, matter of sufficient density can be a medium for sound waves, which transfer mechanical energy. See more at wave.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with medium


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for medium

Difficulty index for medium

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for medium

Scrabble Words With Friends