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Standard deviation

This should be distinguished from mean deviation; it is a rather more exact statistical measurement of dispersion. It is found by listing deviations from the mean, squaring these values, adding them, dividing the total by the number of items and finding the square root of the resultant value. Although similar to the mean deviation as a statistical. measure of dispersion, the manner in which it is calculated gives proportional significance to extreme values in the series being examined. It is also important to more complex statistical analysis, whereas the mean deviation has a very limited use.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.