variants or less commonly amongst
: in or through the midst of : surrounded by
hidden among the trees
: in company or association with
living among artists
: by or through the aggregate of
discontent among the poor
: in the number or class of
wittiest among poets
among other things she was president of her college class
: in shares to each of
divided among the heirs
: through the reciprocal acts of
quarreling among themselves
: through the joint action of
made a fortune among themselves
Between vs. Among: Usage Guide

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 mod slang, clichés and quotes from literary giants A. H. Johnston

Examples of among in a Sentence

The disease spread quickly among the members of the community. The house is nestled among the trees. The ball was hidden among the leaves. There were ducks among the geese. There were several hecklers scattered among the crowd. He lived among artists and writers. The people of the town were frightened to think that a killer might be living among them. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Chief among the remaining hurdles: studios must now find a way to settle their differences with SAG-AFTRA, whose members have been on strike since mid-July. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep. 2023 Savannah Chrisley and Tom Sandoval are among a new batch of celebrities putting their skills to the test. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 Officials shared photos showing the packages of drugs hidden among the vegetables in cardboard boxes. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 25 Sep. 2023 McCallum had three sons with Ireland — Paul; Jason, who died from an accidental drug overdose in 1989; and Val, a guitar player who has worked with Jackson Browne, among others — and two children, Peter and Sophie, with Carpenter. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Sep. 2023 His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, the Atlantic, the New York Times magazine and the American Scholar, among others. Adam Goodheart, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Sep. 2023 Lopatin has collaborated with FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Arca, Rosalía, Charli XCX, Anohni, and Nine Inch Nails, among others. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Rumors had circulated among Ukraine-watchers all weekend that Sokolov had been killed. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 25 Sep. 2023 Quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are among those with the best NFL MVP betting odds in 2023. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 11 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'among.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


among from Middle English, from Old English on gemonge, from on + gemonge, dative of gemong crowd, from ge- (associative prefix) + -mong (akin to Old English mengan to mix); amongst from Middle English amonges, from among + -es -s — more at com-, mingle

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of among was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near among

Cite this Entry

“Among.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also amongst
: in or through the midst of
among the crowd
: in company with
you're among friends
: through all or most of
discontent among the poor
: in the class of
among my good qualities is modesty
: in shares to each of
divided among the heirs

More from Merriam-Webster on among

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