amidst

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

amids +‎ -t ((excrescence)), from amid +‎ -s ((genitive)); surface analysis as amid +‎ -st ((excrescence)). Root amid from Middle English amidde, amiddes, on midden, from Old English on middan (in the middle), from midd (central) (English mid).

Pronunciation[edit]

Preposition[edit]

amidst

  1. In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 4.
      Be a philosopher ; but amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.
    • 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 5
      Not so, however, with Tarzan, the man-child. His life amidst the dangers of the jungle had taught him to meet emergencies with self-confidence, and his higher intelligence resulted in a quickness of mental action far beyond the powers of the apes.

Synonyms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

As with other words with excrescent suffix -st, amidst is generally considered synonymous with simpler amid, and amid is preferred by style guides on both sides of the Atlantic.[1]

Further, amidst/amid are similar in meaning to – but distinct from – amongst/among. Amid(st) denotes that something is "in the midst of", "surrounded by" other things, and is used when the idea of separate things is not prominent. Among(st) denotes that something is mingling with other separable things ("blessed art thou among women").

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TimesOnline, The Guardian and Hansard (Canadian parliament)

Anagrams[edit]