Etymology
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middling (adj.)

"medium in rank, condition, or degree; intermediate," 1540s, from Middle English medlinge "intermediate between two things" (late 14c.), from middle (adj.) + present-participle suffix -ing (2). Used in trade to designate the second of three grades of goods. Hence "only medium, neither good nor bad" (1650s). As an adverb, "tolerably, passably," by 1719.

updated on January 14, 2019

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Definitions of middling from WordNet
1
middling (n.)
any commodity of intermediate quality or size (especially when coarse particles of ground wheat are mixed with bran);
2
middling (adv.)
to certain extent or degree;
Synonyms: reasonably / moderately / pretty / jolly / somewhat / fairly / passably
3
middling (adj.)
lacking exceptional quality or ability;
the performance was middling at best
Synonyms: average / fair / mediocre
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.