How to say "average" in German

Fun Fact: The average number of children born to a woman in Germany is 1.38 (which is what the picture accompanying this post is meant to depict). But how do we say “average” in German?

The German word for “average” is “durchschnittlich” for the adjective and “Durchschnitt” (m.) for the noun, which literally means “cut-through” in English (which is not what the accompanying picture depicts). As such the idea is related to the concept of a “cross section”, as in a survey.

– “Die Durchschnittsnote war 1,5.” – “The average mark/grade was 1.5.”
– “Das war eine sehr unterdurchschnittliche Leistung.” – literally “That was a very below-average performance.”
– “Der Durchschnittsmensch trinkt zu wenig Wasser.” – “The average person drinks too little water.”
– “Das Durchschnittseinkommen in Deutschland beträgt 2.700€ netto je Haushalt.” – “The average net income per household in Germany amounts to 2,700€.”

As one can tell from the examples above, it’s possible to attach “Durchschnitts-” to virtually any noun in order to indicate anything usual or garden-variety, such as “Durchschnittsente” (“average duck”), “Durchschnittsdeutscher” (“average German”) and perhaps even “Durschschnittsdurchschnitt” (essentially the “average of averages”)…

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