[ bih-tween ]
See synonyms for between on
  1. in the space separating (two points, objects, etc.): between New York and Chicago.

  2. intermediate to, in time, quantity, or degree: between twelve and one o'clock; between 50 and 60 apples;between pink and red.

  1. linking; connecting: air service between cities.

  2. in portions for each of (two people): splitting the profits between them.

  3. among: sharing the responsibilities between the five of us.

  4. by the dual or common action or participation of: Between us, we can finish the job in a couple of hours.

  5. distinguishing one from the other: He couldn't see the difference between good and bad.

  6. in comparing:no preference between the two wines.

  7. by the combined effect of.

  8. existing confidentially for: We'll keep this matter between the two of us.

  9. involving; concerning: war between nations;choice between things.

  10. being felt jointly or reciprocated by: the love between them.

  11. by joint possession of: Between them they own most of this company.

  12. Heraldry. in the midst of, so as to make a symmetrical composition: a cross argent between four bezants.

  1. Usually betweens. a short needle with a rounded eye and a sharp point, used for fine hand stitchery in heavy fabric.

  1. in the intervening space or time; in an intermediate position or relation: two windows with a door between;visits that were far between.

Idioms about between

  1. between ourselves, confidentially; in trust.: Also between you and me, between you, me, and the post / lamppost / gatepost / etc.

  2. in between,

    • situated in an intermediary area or on a line or imaginary line connecting two points, things, etc.

    • in the way: I reached for the ball, but the dog got in between.

Origin of between

First recorded before 900; Middle English betwene, Old English betwēonan, betwēonum, equivalent to be- be- + twēon- (cognate with Gothic tweihn(ai) “two each”) + -um, dative plural ending

confusables note For between

Among expresses a relationship when more than two persons or things are involved: Distrust spread among even his strongest supporters. Between is used when only two persons or things are involved: between you and me; to decide between tea and coffee. Between also continues to be used, as it has been throughout its entire history, to express a relationship of persons or things considered individually, no matter how many: Tossing up coins between three people always takes a little working out. Between holding public office, teaching, and writing, she has little free time.

usage note For between

Although not generally accepted as good usage, between you and I is heard occasionally in the speech of educated persons. By the traditional rules of grammar, when a pronoun is the object of a preposition, that pronoun should be in the objective case: between you and me; between her and them. The use of the nominative form ( I, he, she, they, etc.) arises partly as overcorrection, the reasoning being that if it is correct at the end of a sentence like It is I, it must also be correct at the end of the phrase between you and …. The choice of pronoun also owes something to the tendency for the final pronoun in a compound object to be in the nominative case after a verb: It was kind of you to invite my wife and I. This too is not generally regarded as good usage.
The construction between each (or every ) is sometimes objected to on the grounds that between calls for a plural or compound object. However, the construction is old and fully standard when the sense indicates that more than one thing is meant: Spread softened butter between each layer of pastry. There were marigolds peeking between every row of vegetables. The construction betweento is a blend of betweenand ( between 15 and 25 miles ) and fromto ( from 15 to 25 miles ). It occurs occasionally in informal speech but not in formal speech or writing.

Other words from between

  • be·tween·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with between

  • among, between (see confusables note at the current entry)

Words Nearby between Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use between in a sentence

  • In sorting notes it is necessary to be able readily to distinguish between notes of this bank and notes of other reserve banks.

    Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
  • The case was an assault and battery that came off between two men named Brown and Henderson.

  • He thrust his tiny tuft of beard between his teeth—a trick he had when perplexed or thoughtful.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • To Harrison and his wife there was no distinction between the executive and judicial branches of the law.

    The Bondboy | George W. (George Washington) Ogden
  • He noticed at the same time several burnt matches between his cushions and her chair.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood

British Dictionary definitions for between


/ (bɪˈtwiːn) /

  1. at a point or in a region intermediate to two other points in space, times, degrees, etc

  2. in combination; together: between them, they saved enough money to buy a car

  1. confined or restricted to: between you and me

  2. indicating a reciprocal relation or comparison: an argument between a man and his wife

  3. indicating two or more alternatives: a choice between going now and staying all night

adverbAlso: in between
  1. between one specified thing and another: two houses with a garage between

Origin of between

Old English betwēonum; related to Gothic tweihnai two together; see two, twain

usage For between

After distribute and words with a similar meaning, among should be used rather than between : this enterprise issued shares which were distributed among its workers

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with between


In addition to the idioms beginning with between

  • between a rock and a hard place
  • between the lines
  • between you and me

also see:

  • betwixt and between
  • come between
  • draw a line between
  • fall between the cracks
  • few and far between
  • hit between the eyes
  • in between
  • in between times
  • read between the lines
  • tail between one's legs

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.