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medium (see individual senses for plurals)

  1. The nature of the surrounding environment, eg solid, liquid, gas, vacuum, or a specific substance such as a solvent.
  2. The material or empty space through which signals, waves or forces pass.
  3. A format for communicating or presenting information.
  4. A nutrient solution for the growth of cells in vitro
  5. The means or channel by which an aim is achieved.
  6. A liquid base which carries pigment in paint.
  7. Someone who supposedly conveys information from the spirit world
  8. Anything having a measurement intermediate between extremes, such as a garment or container.
  9. A person whom garments or apparel of intermediate size fit.


  • 1996 (sense 4): In some instances one can take advantage of differential carbohydrate fermentation capabilities of microorganisms by incorporating one or more carbohydrates in the medium along with a suitable pH indicator. Such media are called differential media (e.g., eosin methylene blue or MacConkey agar) and are commonly used to isolate enteric bacilli. — Medical Microbiology, ed. Samuel Baron, MD.


  • Data storage device, any physical material that records or holds recorded information
    • Art medium, materials and techniques used by artists to produce art works
  • Transmission medium, in physics and telecommunications, any material substance which can propagate waves or energy


  • Medium of exchange, any monetary instrument used to pay for goods and/or services


  • Medium of instruction, any language or other tools used to educate, train, or instruct


Natural Science

In general, a medium is a material that is either itself undergoing a process that is being studied or used (e.g. transmission medium), or enabling another process of interest (e.g. growth medium). Specific examples include the following:

  • Processing medium, in industrial engineering, a material that plays a role in manufacturing processes
  • Excitable medium, a nonlinear dynamic system which has the capacity to propagate a wave
  • Growth medium (or culture medium), in biotechnology, an object in which microorganisms or cells experience growth
  • Interplanetary medium, in astronomy, material which fills the solar system
  • Interstellar medium, in astronomy, the matter and energy content that exists between the stars within a galaxy

Paranormal and New Age

  • Mediumship (see article on channel), a practice in which a person acts as an intermediary between the physical world and what is believed to be a spiritual world.


Dramatic works

  • The Medium, an opera by Gian-Carlo Menotti
  • Medium (TV series), a television series about a research medium for a district attorney's office


  • The Medium (Rutgers)|The Medium, an entertainment weekly at Rutgers University