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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
, when more than two are enumerated
, and even when only one item is mentioned (but repetition is implied).
Among is more appropriate where the emphasis is on distribution rather than individual relationships.
When among is automatically chosen for more than two, English idiom may be strained.
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.