be·​tween | \bi-ˈtwēn, bē-\

Definition of between 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : by the common action of : jointly engaging shared the work between the two of them talks between the threeTime

b : in common to : shared by divided between his four grandchildren

2a : in the time, space, or interval that separates the alley between the butcher shop and the pharmacy should arrive between 9 and 10 o'clock

b : in intermediate relation to weighs somewhere between a pound and a pound and a half

3a : from one to another of air service between Miami and Chicago

b : serving to connect or unite in a relationship (such as difference, likeness, or proportion) a one-to-one correspondence between sets mutual understanding between them

c : setting apart the line between fact and fancy

4a : in preference for one or the other of had no difficulty deciding between the two

b : in point of comparison of little difference between the two cars

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

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



Definition of between (Entry 2 of 2)

: in an intermediate space or interval two beds with a nightstand between

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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 between in a Sentence


The ball rolled between the desk and the wall. He stood between his mother and his father. The office has two desks with a table between them. They put up a fence between their house and their neighbor's house. There are fences between all the houses. If you want to lose weight, you shouldn't eat between meals. Between bites of food, they talked to their teacher. The two days between Monday and Thursday are Tuesday and Wednesday. We should arrive between 9 and 10 o'clock.


The office has two desks with a table between.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

The protagonists, much like Groff’s representation of Florida itself, seem to straddle a contentious line between wilderness and civilization. Constance Grady, Vox, "We read all 25 National Book Award finalists for 2018. Here’s what we thought.," 15 Nov. 2018 That’s not the case at this new development in Mihama, Japan, which is built to encourage interaction between residents. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "These Japanese homes were designed to encourage neighbor interaction," 15 Nov. 2018 Related The heightened political environment of recent years has also created divisions between workers inside the largest tech companies. Greg Bensinger And Douglas Macmillan, WSJ, "Tech Firms Should Face ‘Thoughtful’ Regulation, Lawmakers Say," 13 Nov. 2018 The longitudinal distance between the shallow end is 3.7 feet, whereas the deep end . . Popular Mechanics, "My Job at Coachella Inspired Me to Invent a Portable Swimming Pool," 30 Oct. 2018 On Monday's episode of The View, things got especially (and unusually) tense between co-hosts Meghan McCain and Joy Behar. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Whoopi Goldberg Had to Break Up Meghan McCain and Joy Behar's Heated Debate," 30 Oct. 2018 Since the 1960s, at these sites where the Danube forms the border between Serbia and Romania, archaeologists have turned up artifacts and human remains that are 7,900 to 8,200 years old. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Home is a compound of 19th-century farmhouses set on several bucolic acres of olive trees on a hill between Florence and Impruneta, which is shared with Riccardo’s wife, Daniela, and Francesco’s sister, Elena. Maria Shollenbarger, ELLE Decor, "An Italian Design Firm Transforms Discreet-but-Luxe Kitchens with a Timeless Florentine Aesthetic," 18 Oct. 2018 While the neighborhoods have three full-size groceries between them, the closest one to the Oasis is about a mile away. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Dare to Care opens pop-up shop to address west Louisville food desert," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Unfortunately, those rides are set to become fewer and farther between, as Uber seeks to perfect rider-driver matching in its latest product, Express Pool. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "With Express Pool, Uber Offers an Even Cheaper Ride Option," 21 Feb. 2018 The exhibits reflect a kind of push-and-pull between playful immersion and more traditional instruction. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "An Everyman Museum to Celebrate American Writers," 8 May 2017

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

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First Known Use of between


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for between


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


see between entry 1

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Statistics for between

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for between

The first known use of between was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for between



English Language Learners Definition of between

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)



English Language Learners Definition of between (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the space separating two things or people


be·​tween | \bi-ˈtwēn \

Kids Definition of between

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

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

4 : by comparing You must choose between two things.

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

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

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



Kids Definition of between (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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