\ ˈbōth \

Definition of both

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the one as well as the other both of us

Definition of both (Entry 2 of 3)

used as a function word to indicate and stress the inclusion of each of two or more things specified by coordinated words, phrases, or clauses prized both for its beauty and for its utilityhe … who loveth well both man and bird and beast— S. T. Coleridge



Definition of both (Entry 3 of 3)

: being the two : affecting or involving the one and the other both feet both his eyes both these armies

Examples of both in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Conjunction

Case in point: Right after King Arthur cuts off one, then both, of the Black Knight’s arms, a woman walks in with a basket and scoops them up. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "‘Spamalot’ is an infectious crowd-pleaser at Palo Alto Players," 3 May 2017 Get her to the Early Bird, a charming little breakfast spot with locations in both Westminster and DTC that is super casual and super good. Allyson Reedy, The Know, "We’ve made your Denver Mother’s Day plans based on the kind of mom you have," 23 Apr. 2017 After a bullpen session, Pini suggested Gavin turn his two solid breaking balls (a curveball and a slider) into one really strong pitch, a slurve (combo of both), that became a bit more like a slider. Mirin Fader, Orange County Register, "Cal State Fullerton pitcher John Gavin won’t settle for anything less than great," 4 Apr. 2017 What are your biggest concerns and priorities at this time — both in terms of the regulatory as well as industry development? Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist, "Exclusive: Here’s how Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper really feels about marijuana," 31 Mar. 2017 It was built in 1922 at 107 E. Chestnut St. Both the city of Stillwater and Washington County, which had first and second dibs, declined to purchase the building. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "New armory in Stillwater will highlight history," 27 Feb. 2017 Neither squad has lost an in-state game yet, as both the Grizzlies (9-1) and the Patriots (10-1) each went 3-1 in their respective brackets in the prestigious Tarkanian Classic from Dec. 16-20 in Las Vegas. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "5A’s top squads face off as ThunderRidge travels to George Washington," 3 Jan. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Trump trotted them out during both the Republican primary and the presidential campaign. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends’ favorite black Trump supporters, explained," 5 Feb. 2019 On Capitol Hill, negotiations have essentially been at a standstill since Saturday, when both the House and Senate adjourned until Thursday. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Government Shutdown Scuppers Holiday Plans, Threatens to Delay Paychecks," 25 Dec. 2018 Google abandoned its pursuit of a system where both the computer and driver could fully control the car for this very reason, after finding the human drivers were easily distracted while the computer was driving. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Mercedes-Benz wants to make the 2020 S-Class partially autonomous," 11 Oct. 2018 This week, the late senator's coffin will lie in state at both the Arizona State Capitol and in the Rotunda of the U.S. State Capitol, so members of the public can pay their respects. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "John McCain Will Lie in State Over the Next Week. What Does That Mean?," 27 Aug. 2018 One can easily imagine both a shorter movie version of this saga and a longer, 10-hour version, and both options hold some appeal. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Very English Scandal’ Is Very Good. And Scandalous.," 28 June 2018 Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Janet Yellen have chaired both the Fed and the Council of Economic Advisers. WSJ, "Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends," 16 Jan. 2019 Getting a flu vaccine is also a critical step recommended by both the CDC and the AAP. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Flu Symptoms in Kids Come Suddenly, But You Can Act Fast If You Know What to Look For," 19 Oct. 2018 From the equal parts ethereal and hyper-futuristic clothes to the idiosyncratic cat-eye designs and powerful pouts, Risso’s show stoked both the romance of the past and wild imagination of the future with a distinctly bold confidence. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Extreme Cat-Eyes! Iconic Red Lips! Marni’s Retro-Futurist Beauty Is a Runway Win," 23 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'both.' 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 both

Pronoun, plural in construction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for both

Pronoun, plural in construction, Conjunction, and Adjective

Middle English bothe, probably from Old Norse bāthir; akin to Old High German beide both

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Time Traveler for both

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

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English Language Learners Definition of both

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: each one of two things or people

English Language Learners Definition of both (Entry 2 of 3)

used before two words or phrases connected with and to stress that each is included



English Language Learners Definition of both (Entry 3 of 3)

used to indicate that two things or people are being referred to rather than just one


\ ˈbōth \

Kids Definition of both

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: each one of two things or people : the two both of us

Kids Definition of both (Entry 2 of 3)

used before two words or phrases connected with and to stress that each is included both New York and London



Kids Definition of both (Entry 3 of 3)

: the two Both books are mine.

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More from Merriam-Webster on both

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with both

Spanish Central: Translation of both

Nglish: Translation of both for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of both for Arabic Speakers

Comments on both

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


a servile follower or underling

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