English Synonyms and Antonyms
Amid or amidst denotes surrounded by; among or amongst denotes mingled with. Between (archaic or poetic, betwixt) is said of two persons or objects, or of two groups of persons or objects. "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen," Gen. xiii, 9; the reference being to two bodies of herdmen. Amid denotes mere position; among, some active relation, as of companionship, hostility, etc. Lowell's "Among my Books" regards the books as companions; amid my books would suggest packing, storing, or some other incidental circumstance. We say among friends, or among enemies, amidst the woods, amid the shadows. In the midst of may have merely the local meaning; as, I found myself in the midst of a crowd; or it may express even closer association than among; as, "I found myself in the midst of friends" suggests their pressing up on every side, oneself the central object; so, "where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," Matt. xviii, 20; in which case it would be feebler to say "among them," impossible to say "amid them," not so well to say "amidst them."
Dictionary of English Synonymes
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