each other

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From Middle English ech other, yche othere, ich othir, eche other, ilk oþer, from Old English ǣlċ ōþer (each other), equivalent to each +‎ other. Cognate with Scots ilk other (each other), West Frisian elkoar (each other), Dutch elkander, elkaar (each other).



each other

  1. (reciprocal pronoun) To one another; one to the other; signifies that a verb applies to two or more entities both as subjects and as direct objects:
    Jack and Robert loved each other.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter VIII, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      Now we plunged into a deep shade with the boughs lacing each other overhead, and crossed dainty, rustic bridges over the cold trout-streams, the boards giving back the clatter of our horses' feet: or anon we shot into a clearing, with a colored glimpse of the lake and its curving shore far below us.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, →OCLC:
      There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy. [] Passengers wander restlessly about or hurry, with futile energy, from place to place. Pushing men hustle each other at the windows of the purser's office, under pretence of expecting letters or despatching telegrams.
    • 1972 March 14, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather, spoken by Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), Paramount Pictures:
      We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or for help.
    • 2011 October 23, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 1-6 Man City”, in BBC Sport:
      It was the first time United had conceded six goals at Old Trafford since 1930, when Huddersfield won 6-0 and Newcastle 7-4 within four days of each other.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Some usage guides prescribe “each other” for two entities and “one another” for more than two. This distinction is not observed in practice. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the pronoun as referring to “two or more”; Fowler’s suggests that the distinction “is neither of present utility nor based on historical usage”. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage notes that “a few commentators believe the rule to be followed in ‘formal discourse’. This belief will not bear examination: Samuel Johnson's discourse is perhaps the most formal that exists in English literature, and he has been cited in violation of the rule.”


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