So mediocre has meant the same thing since it entered English round about 1580: “of moderate quality, neither good nor bad.”
But I’d never really looked it up to realize where it comes from. Medi- of course means “middle” or “halfway” in Latin, which we know from other words like medium, etc. But what about the second half of the word? That comes from the Latin ocri, which means…”mountain.” Who knew? Mediocre is literally “halfway up the mountain.” From that literal meaning, the word has pretty much always meant “of middling height or station.”
I think what I like about this though is that “halfway up the mountain” implies (in my mind, at least) a journey. We all start at the bottom and hike our way up. Maybe we’re mediocre at something now, but that’s just because it’s a step along the way… 😀😀

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