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.
  3. linking; connecting: air service between cities.
  4. in portions for each of (two people): splitting the profits between them.
  5. among: sharing the responsibilities between the five of us.
  6. by the dual or common action or participation of: Between us, we can finish the job in a couple of hours.
  7. distinguishing one from the other: He couldn't see the difference between good and bad.
  8. in comparing: no preference between the two wines.
  9. by the combined effect of.
  10. existing confidentially for: We'll keep this matter between the two of us.
  11. involving; concerning: war between nations; choice between things.
  12. being felt jointly or reciprocated by: the love between them.
  13. by joint possession of: Between them they own most of this company.
  14. 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.
  1. between ourselves, confidentially; in trust.Also between you and me, between you, me, and the post/lamppost/gatepost/etc.
  2. in between,
    1. situated in an intermediary area or on a line or imaginary line connecting two points, things, etc.
    2. in the way: I reached for the ball, but the dog got in between.

Origin of between

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
Related formsbe·tween·ness, noun
Can be confusedamong between (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

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.
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for betweenness


  1. at a point or in a region intermediate to two other points in space, times, degrees, etc
  2. in combination; togetherbetween them, they saved enough money to buy a car
  3. confined or restricted tobetween you and me
  4. indicating a reciprocal relation or comparisonan argument between a man and his wife
  5. indicating two or more alternativesa choice between going now and staying all night
adverb Also: in between
  1. between one specified thing and anothertwo houses with a garage between

Word Origin for between

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


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

Word Origin and History for betweenness

1881, from between + -ness.



Old English betweonum "between, among, by turns," Mercian betwinum, from bi- "by" (see be-) + tweonum dative plural of *tweon "two each" (cf. Gothic tweih-nai "two each"). Between a rock and a hard place is from 1940s, originally cowboy slang. Between-whiles is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with betweenness


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.