preposition \ ə-ˈməŋ \
variants: or less commonly amongst play \-ˈməŋ(k)st\
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of among

1 : in or through the midst of : surrounded by
  • hidden among the trees
2 : in company or association with
  • living among artists
3 : by or through the aggregate of
  • discontent among the poor
4 : in the number or class of
  • wittiest among poets
  • among other things she was president of her college class
5 : in shares to each of
  • divided among the heirs
6 a : through the reciprocal acts of
  • quarreling among themselves
b : through the joint action of
  • made a fortune among themselves

between vs. among

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

  1. The disease spread quickly among the members of the community.

  2. The house is nestled among the trees.

  3. The ball was hidden among the leaves.

  4. There were ducks among the geese.

  5. There were several hecklers scattered among the crowd.

  6. He lived among artists and writers.

  7. The people of the town were frightened to think that a killer might be living among them.

Recent Examples of among from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'among.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of among

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 co-, mingle

among Synonyms


amid (or amidst), mid, midst, through;

Near Antonyms

from, out of;

Related Words

between, betwixt;


in the thick of;

AMONG Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of among for English Language Learners

  • : in or through (a group of people or things)

  • : in the presence of (a group of people)

  • —used to talk about the opinions, feelings, etc., of a group of people

AMONG Defined for Kids


preposition \ ə-ˈməŋ \
variants: also amongst \-ˈməŋst\

Definition of among for Students

1 : in or through the middle of
  • My ball landed among the trees.
  • Disease spread among members of the class.
2 : in the presence of : with
  • You're among friends.
3 : through all or most of
  • There is discontent amongst voters.
4 : in shares to each of
  • The candy was divided among the friends.
5 : in the number or group of being considered or compared
  • among the best
  • He was among her biggest fans.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up among? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


excessive admiration or flattery

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!