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preposition be·tween \bi-ˈtwēn, bē-\

Simple Definition of between

  • : in the space that separates (two things or people)

  • : in the time that separates (two actions, events, etc.)

  • : in shares to each of (two or more people)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of between

  1. 1 a :  by the common action of :  jointly engaging <shared the work between the two of them> <talks between the three — Time> b :  in common to :  shared by <divided between his four grandchildren>

  2. 2 a :  in the time, space, or interval that separates b :  in intermediate relation to

  3. 3 a :  from one to another of <air service between Miami and Chicago> b :  serving to connect or unite in a relationship (as difference, likeness, or proportion) <a one-to-one correspondence between sets> c :  setting apart <the line between fact and fancy>

  4. 4 a :  in preference for one or the other of <had no difficulty deciding between the two> b :  in point of comparison of <not much to choose between the two coats>

  5. 5 :  in confidence restricted to <a secret between you and me>

  6. 6 :  taking together the combined effect of <between work and family life, they have no time for hobbies>

Usage Discussion of between

There is a persistent but unfounded notion that between can be used only of two items and that among must be used for more than two. Between has been used of more than two since Old English; it is especially appropriate to denote a one-to-one relationship, regardless of the number of items. It can be used when the number is unspecified <economic cooperation between nations>, when more than two are enumerated <between you and me and the lamppost> <partitioned between Austria, Prussia, and Russia — Nathaniel Benchley>, and even when only one item is mentioned (but repetition is implied) <pausing between every sentence to rap the floor — George Eliot>. Among is more appropriate where the emphasis is on distribution rather than individual relationships <discontent among the peasants>. When among is automatically chosen for more than two, English idiom may be strained <a worthy book that nevertheless falls among many stools — John Simon> <the author alternates among modern slang, clichés and quotes from literary giants — A. H. Johnston>.

Examples of between in a sentence

  1. The ball rolled between the desk and the wall.

  2. He stood between his mother and his father.

  3. The office has two desks with a table between them.

  4. They put up a fence between their house and their neighbor's house.

  5. There are fences between all the houses.

  6. If you want to lose weight, you shouldn't eat between meals.

  7. Between bites of food, they talked to their teacher.

  8. The two days between Monday and Thursday are Tuesday and Wednesday.

  9. We should arrive between 9 and 10 o'clock.

Origin and Etymology of between

Middle English betwene, preposition & adverb, from Old English betwēonum, from be- + -twēonum (dative plural) (akin to Gothic tweihnai two each); akin to Old English twā two

First Known Use: before 12th century



adverb be·tween

Simple Definition of between

  • : in the space separating two things or people

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of between

  1. :  in an intermediate space or interval

Examples of between in a sentence

  1. The office has two desks with a table between.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of between

before 12th century

BETWEEN Defined for Kids



preposition be·tween \bi-ˈtwēn\

Definition of between for Students

  1. 1 :  in the time or space that separates <between nine and ten o'clock> <between the two desks>

  2. 2 :  functioning to separate or tell apart <What are the differences between soccer and football?>

  3. 3 :  by the efforts of each of <Between us we can get the job done.>

  4. 4 :  by comparing <You must choose between two things.>

  5. 5 :  shared by <There's a strong bond between parent and child.>

  6. 6 :  in shares to each of <She divided the money between the two children.>

  7. 7 :  to and from <He travels between New York and Chicago every week.>



adverb be·tween

Definition of between for Students

  1. :  in a position between others <The room has two desks with a table between.>

Learn More about between

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to move or pull abruptly

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