Also known as the arithmetic mean, the mean is typically what is meant by the word average. The mean is perhaps the most common measure of central tendency. The mean of a variable is given by (the sum of all its values)/(the number of values). For example, the mean of 4, 8, and 9 is 7. The sample mean is written as M, and the population mean as the Greek letter mu (μ). Despite its popularity, the mean may not be an appropriate measure of central tendency for skewed distributions, or in situations with outliers.