Did You Know?
"Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean; and so betwixt the two of them, they licked the platter clean." Perhaps you've always said "and so between the two of them" when reciting the tale of Jack Sprat and his wife. That's fine. Betwixt and between have similar origins: they both come from a combination of be- and related Old English roots. Both words appeared before the 12th century, but use of betwixt dropped off considerably toward the end of the 1600s. It survived in the phrase "betwixt and between" ("neither one thing nor the other"), which took on a life of its own in the 18th century. Nowadays, betwixt is uncommon, but it isn't archaic; it's simply used more consciously than between.
"O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four times / seven years, and since I could distinguish betwixt a benefit and / an injury, I never found man that knew how to love himself." — William Shakespeare, Othello, 1622
"Barry is a bit betwixt and between as a viewing experience: too violent for people who don't like violence, not energetic or dramatic enough for people who do." — Willa Paskin, Slate Magazine, 23 Mar. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Unscramble the letters to create an adjective that means "being or occurring in the middle": LMAEID.VIEW THE ANSWER
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