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

Example Sentences

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 In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors approved a resolution calling, among other things, for Russia to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia plant, Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest. John Leicester, Chicago Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 That’s what prosecutors allege happened in the case of Ethan Crumbley, who, among other things, texted his friend and mom about hallucinations, demons and hearing voices. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 18 Nov. 2022 Blumenthal is also hoping to see some action over the next several weeks on his bipartisan legislation — the Kids Online Safety Act — that would, among other things, put in place stricter privacy settings on social media for minors. Lisa Hagen, Hartford Courant, 18 Nov. 2022 Emphasizing this fact is the introduction of a new X-Line trim that brings a more rugged look to the Seltos by way of distinct 18-inch wheels, a trim-specific grille design, and special badging, among other things. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2022 After all, the data sites collect about us – to gather information about our spending habits to market and sell us products, for instance – can also be used to track our physical locations in order to stalk or physically harm us, among other things. Kara Alaimo, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Beijing says the foreign outposts are service centers that help Chinese nationals living abroad renew their driver’s licenses, among other things. Jennifer Jett, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2022 The lawsuits said Walmart, among other things, failed to properly regulate its pharmaceutical standards and prescriptions, CNN added. Justin Klawans, The Week, 15 Nov. 2022 In a tacit acknowledgment of the economic pain their policies have wrought, Chinese authorities on Friday issued a set of 16 measures that extend funding relief to highly-indebted developers and strengthen housing supplies, among other things. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 co-, 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 1 Dec. 2022.

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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