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Alternative forms[edit]


PIE word

From Middle English betwene, from Old English betwēonum (between, among, dative plural, literally by the two, near both), from Proto-Germanic *bi- (be-) + *twīhnaz (two each), corresponding to be- +‎ twain. Cognate with Scots between (between), Scots atween (between), Gothic 𐍄𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌷𐌽𐌰𐌹 (tweihnai, two each), Old English betweohs (between), Old English twinn (double, twofold). More at betwixt, twin. For the meaning development compare with Mongolian хооронд (xoorond, between), connected with Mongolian хоёр (xojor, two).


The green pepper is between the white rectangles.
  • (UK) IPA(key): /bɪˈtwiːn/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /bəˈtwin/, /bɪˈtwin/, [bɪˈtʰwin]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: be‧tween
  • Rhymes: -iːn



  1. In the position or interval that separates (two things), or intermediate in quantity or degree. (See 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.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
  2. Done together or reciprocally.
    conversation between friends
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, in Death on the Centre Court:
      She mixed furniture with the same fatal profligacy as she mixed drinks, and this outrageous contact between things which were intended by Nature to be kept poles apart gave her an inexpressible thrill.
  3. Shared in confidence.
    Between you and me, I think the boss is crazy.  Let's keep this between ourselves.
  4. 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.
    • 2020, Lisa Lerer, “This Is Not the Debate We Wanted”, in The New York Times[1]:
      [If] you don’t want to flip the channels between Biden and Trump, join [the] live chat, [which is covering] both town halls.
  5. 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.
  6. One of (representing a choice).
    You must choose between him and me.
    Some colour-blind people can't distinguish between red and green.
  7. Taking together the combined effect of.
    Between the food and the card games, this proved to be the best birthday party I have ever had.

Usage notes[edit]

  • It is sometimes said that between usually applies to two things, while among applies to more than two things. According to the Oxford English Dictionary: "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’".[1]


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


between (plural betweens)

  1. A kind of needle, shorter than a sharp, with a small rounded eye, used for making fine stitches on heavy fabrics.


  1. ^ How to distinguish “between” and “among””, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), (Can we date this quote?)




Reinterpretation of English btw as an abbreviation of between.


This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!



  1. (Hong Kong Cantonese, Internet slang, neologism, humorous) BTW; by the way