between[bē twēn′, bi-]
- The definition of between is the space between two points in position or time.
An example of between is the space located in the middle of two people standing next to each other.
There is a space between these two cows.
- in or through the space that separates (two things): between the house and the garage
- in or of the time, amount, or degree that separates (two things); intermediate to: between blue and green
- that connects or relates to: a bond between friends, the difference between right and wrong
- along a course that connects: the road runs between here and there
- by the joint action of: between them they landed the fish
- because of the combined effect of: between work and studies she has no time left
- in or into the combined possession of: they had fifty dollars between them
- with equal parts shared by each of: they divided it between them
- to the exclusion of all but both of: let's keep this matter between us
- from one or the other of: choose between love and duty
Origin of betweenMiddle English bitwene ; from Old English betweonum ; from be, by + tweonum (dat. of an unverified form tweon); akin to Gothic tweihnai, by twos, in pairs: for Indo-European base see two
- in an intermediate space, position, or function
- in an intermediate time; in the interval
- in an intermediate position
- in the midst of
- a. In or through the position or interval separating: between the trees; between 11 o'clock and 12 o'clock.b. Intermediate to, as in quantity, amount, or degree: It costs between 15 and 20 dollars.
- Connecting spatially: a railroad between the two cities.
- Usage Problem Associating or uniting in a reciprocal action or relationship: an agreement between workers and management; a certain resemblance between the two stories.
- In confidence restricted to: Between you and me, he is not qualified.
- a. By the combined effort or effect of: Between them they succeeded.b. In the combined ownership of: They had only a few dollars between them.
- As measured against. Often used to express a reciprocal relationship: choose between riding and walking.
Origin of betweenMiddle English bitwene, from Old English betwēonum; see dwo- in Indo-European roots.
- In the position or interval that separates (two things), or intermediate in quantity or degree. (See the Usage notes below.)
- John stood between Amy and Mary. Let's meet between two and three.
- I want to buy one that costs somewhere between forty and fifty dollars.
- Done together or reciprocally.
- Conversation between friends.
- Shared in confidence.
- Between you and me, I think the boss is crazy. Let's keep this between ourselves.
- In transit from (one to the other, or connecting places).
- He's between jobs right now. The shuttle runs between the town and the airport.
- Combined (by effort or ownership).
- Between us all, we shall succeed. We've only got £5 between us.
- Between the leaky taps and the peeling wallpaper, there isn't much about this house to appeal to a buyer.
- One of (representing a choice).
- You must choose between him and me.
- Some colour-blind people can't distinguish between red and green.
- Some groups of non-native speakers confuse between and among. It is sometimes said that between usually applies to two things, while among applies to more than two things. This is not correct; according to the Oxford English Dictionary (quoted at http://eebweb.arizona.edu/faculty/chesson/between_and_among.htm) "In all senses, between has been, from its earliest appearance, extended to more than two. In OE. and ME. it was so extended in sense 1, in which among is now considered better. It is still the only word available to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually, among expressing a relation to them collectively and vaguely: we should not say ‘the space lying among the three points,’ or ‘a treaty among three powers,’ or ‘the choice lies among the three candidates in the select list,’ or ‘to insert a needle among the closed petals of a flower".
From Middle English betwene, from Old English betwēonan, betwēonum (“between, among, amid, in the midst, meanwhile”, dative plural, literally “by the two, near both”), from Proto-Germanic *bi- (“be-”), *twihnaz (“two each”), corresponding to be- + twain. Cognate with Scots between (“between”), Scots atween (“between”), Gothic (tweihnai, “two each”), Old English betweohs (“between”), Old English twinn (“double, twofold”). More at betwixt, twin.