be·​tween | \ bi-ˈtwēn How to pronounce between (audio) , 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

Preposition 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. Adverb The office has two desks with a table between.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Community groups working in the Oliver, Greenmount West and Johnston Square areas see the station as the anchor between them and the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore. Jacques Kelly,, "We grew to love Pennsylvania Station. Can an updated version continue that love affair?," 24 Oct. 2020 The plan was hastily devised in the weeks after the collapse of an agreement between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry to lower Medicare drug costs. Margot Sanger-katz And Noah Weiland New York Times, Star Tribune, "Trump promised senior drug discount cards, but they may be illegal," 22 Oct. 2020 The difference is that Western economies have the option of recovering from the virus by getting back on track—by extending the Trump-era deregulation agenda, or by redoubling efforts to finalize a free-trade agreement between the EU and Britain. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Beijing’s Covid Recovery Isn’t So Enviable," 22 Oct. 2020 Relations between Washington and Beijing were already heated over issues such as trade, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Trump admin approves more than $1 billion in new arms sales to Taiwan, angering China," 22 Oct. 2020 These include procedural rules and whether a landmark February agreement between Washington and the Taliban should serve as the basis for talks. Eltaf Najafizada,, "Elite Taliban Unit Ambush Afghan Forces Killing 34 During Talks," 21 Oct. 2020 Production of computer servers was not part of the original agreement between the company and the state. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State budget office: Foxconn's facility 'may be better suited for demonstration' than as a factory," 21 Oct. 2020 The 2006 Stadium Lease Agreement between the New York City Industrial Development Agency and Queens Ballpark Company provides the city consent rights to deny the Mets and their stadium be transferred to a person who has committed a felony. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Mets' sale to Steve Cohen still has one hurdle to clear: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio," 21 Oct. 2020 While Trump’s post-debate posturing received some positive coverage, Russian media largely lamented his administration’s failure to deliver substantive progress toward normalizing relations between the two countries. Robert Hinck, The Conversation, "Russian media may be joining China and Iran in turning on Trump," 20 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb International observers are few and far between, though one exception is the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) that does send observers to the US for presidential and midterm elections. David Mckenzie, CNN, "International election observers are worried about the US vote," 11 Oct. 2020 Postseason scuffles are few and far between in the postseason, but who knows what to expect in a year where no one has known what to expect? Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Yankees, Rays bring bitter rivalry to Petco Park for ALDS," 4 Oct. 2020 Events are few and far between, meaning so are appearances for the two major party candidates – especially in front of the same audience. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "Holcomb, Myers make rare 'joint appearance' in appeal to educators," 30 Sep. 2020 Female CEOs remain few and far between in America’s boardrooms. The Economist, "America’s big banks are starting to put women in charge," 23 Sep. 2020 Atlanta area are few and far between, but roughly 20 minutes outside of the city exists the nearly two-centuries-old Mayor’s House. Danielle Harling, House Beautiful, "Daniel Brown Turned a 200 Year Old House Built by Slaves Into a Modern, Black-Owned Brew Bar," 15 Sep. 2020 Up until recently, Tiffany’s appearances have been few and far between, especially when compared to her older siblings. Sarah Midkiff,, "Tiffany Trump’s RNC Speech Felt Like An Audition For Favorite Daughter. Sad!," 26 Aug. 2020 Rapid tests, which were still being conducted on Abbott’s I.D. NOW machines, were few and far between, at least for most people; the only option seemed to be a pop-up center in a Bronx post office. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "Jonathan Rothberg’s Race to Invent the Ultimate Rapid At-Home COVID-19 Test," 29 Aug. 2020 In an upcoming fall athletic season where the known is few and far between, the Lake Forest girls tennis program has one in Kiley Rabjohns. Steve Reaven,, "Lake Forest’s Kiley Rabjohns enters tennis season on cusp of becoming fourth player in Illinois to win three state singles titles," 23 Aug. 2020

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

Preposition and Adverb

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

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Time Traveler for between

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for between

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Between.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for between


How to pronounce between (audio)

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.)
used to indicate the beginning and ending points of a group of numbers, a range of measurement, etc. sometimes used in the phrase in between



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

: in the space separating two things or people


be·​tween | \ bi-ˈtwēn How to pronounce between (audio) \

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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