among


among
among, amongst
1. Among is now roughly ten times more common than amongst. It is the oldest form, which gave rise to the by-forms amonges (14c, no longer in use) and among(e)st (16c). There is no demonstrable difference of meaning between the two forms, and the distribution is unclear except that amongst seems to be less common in AmE than in BrE. An older view, which Fowler (1926) followed, that amongst is commoner before a word beginning with a vowel, is not borne out by the evidence (the most common word following amongst, as with among, is in fact the). Examples: (among)

• The giants war among themselves —J. M. Coetzee, 1977

• There were a lot of young people among the temporary staff —Penelope Fitzgerald, 1980

• Britain also has the lowest level of welfare expenditure among the countries of the European Community —Times, 1985

• (amongst) They stood on the edges of the lamplight amongst the wattles by the creek —Peter Carey, 1988

• If a settled view is formed amongst voters that the additional money on the NHS has been wasted progressive politics will be in trouble for decades —Independent, 2007.

2. Among is much more often used than amongst in the expression among other things. This expression is strictly illogical, since among is inclusive and other is exclusive, but it is well established and usually causes no adverse comment. Perhaps it gets by on the coat-tails of the Latin equivalent inter alia, also self-contradictory but which few would venture to challenge.
3. For choice of among and between, see between 2.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • among — [ə muŋ′] prep. [ME < OE on gemang, in the company (of) < on, in + gemang, a mingling, crowd < gemengan, MINGLE] 1. in the company of; surrounded by; included with a group of [you are among friends] 2. from place to place in [he passed… …   English World dictionary

  • Among — A*mong , Amongst A*mongst , prep. [OE. amongist, amonges, amonge, among, AS. onmang, ongemang, gemang, in a crowd or mixture. For the ending st see {Amidst}. See {Mingle}.] 1. Mixed or mingled; surrounded by. [1913 Webster] They heard, And from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • among — (prep.) early 12c., from O.E. onmang, from phrase on gemang in a crowd, from gemengan to mingle (see MINGLE (Cf. mingle)). Collective prefix ge dropped 12c. leaving onmong, amang, among. Cf. O.S. angimang among, amid; O.Fris. mong among …   Etymology dictionary

  • among — [prep1] in the middle of; between amid, amidst, betwixt, encompassed by, in dispersion through, in the midst of, in the thick of, mid, surrounded by, with; concept 586 Ant. away from, outside, separate among [prep2] in a group by all of, by the… …   New thesaurus

  • among — adverb amid, amidst, between, in the middle of, parenthetically Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • among — *between …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • among — (chiefly Brit. also amongst) ► PREPOSITION 1) surrounded by; in the middle of. 2) included or occurring in. 3) shared by; between. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • among — [[t]əmʌ̱ŋ[/t]] ♦ (The form amongst is also used, but is more literary.) 1) PREP Someone or something that is situated or moving among a group of things or people is surrounded by them. ...youths in their late teens sitting among adults... They… …   English dictionary

  • among — a|mong [ ə mʌŋ ] preposition *** 1. ) included in a larger group a ) used for saying that someone or something is included in a particular group of people or things: His family connections helped ensure his position among the elite. from among… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • among */*/*/ — UK [əˈmʌŋ] / US preposition 1) included in a larger group a) used for saying that someone or something is included in a particular group of people or things His family connections helped ensure his position among the elite. from among (= from a… …   English dictionary


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