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[bohth] /boʊθ/
one and the other; two together:
He met both sisters. Both performances were canceled.
the one as well as the other:
Both of us were going to the party.
alike; equally:
He is both ready and willing.
Origin of both
1125-75; Middle English bothe, bathe, influenced by Scandinavian (compare Old Norse bāthir both; cognate with German, Dutch beide, Gothic ba tho skipa both (the) ships, Old High German bêde < *bai thai); replacing Middle English bo, ba, Old English bā; cognate with Gothic bai; akin to Latin ambō, Greek ámphō, Lithuanian abù, Sanskrit ubháu Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for both
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yes—I'm hungry for both, and some of those funny little cakes.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Later he involved himself in explanations that were both obscure and conflicting.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • They were both silent for a few moments; and Eudora's countenance was troubled.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • She helped Geta to escape: they have both taken refuge in the Temple of Theseus.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • both your ma and Pishy has got more out of it than you have.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for both


  1. the two; two considered together: both dogs were dirty
  2. (as pronoun): both are to blame
(coordinating) used preceding words, phrases, or clauses joined by and, used to emphasize that not just one, but also the other of the joined elements is included: both Ellen and Keith enjoyed the play, both new and exciting
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse bāthir; related to Old High German bēde, Latin ambō, Greek amphō
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for both
adj., pron.

there are several theories, all similar, and deriving the word from the tendency to say "both the." One is that it is Old English begen (masc.) "both" (from Proto-Germanic *ba, from PIE *bho "both") + extended base. Another traces it to the Proto-Germanic formula represented in Old English by ba þa "both these," from ba (feminine nominative and accusative of begen) + þa, nominative and accusative plural of se "that." A third traces it to Old Norse baðir "both," from *bai thaiz "both the," from Proto-Germanic *thaiz, third person plural pronoun. Cf. similar formation in Old Frisian bethe, Dutch beide, Old High German beide, German beide, Gothic bajoþs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with both
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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