[ mid-l ]
See synonyms for: middlemiddling on Thesaurus.com

  1. equally distant from the extremes or outer limits; central: the middle point of a line; the middle singer in a trio.

  2. intermediate or intervening: the middle distance.

  1. medium or average: a man of middle size.

  2. (initial capital letter) (in the history of a language) intermediate between periods classified as Old and New or Modern: Middle English.

  3. Grammar. (in some languages) noting a voice of verb inflection in which the subject is represented as acting on or for itself, in contrast to the active voice in which the subject acts, and the passive voice in which the subject is acted upon, as in Greek, egrapsámēn “I wrote for myself,” égrapsa “I wrote,” egráphēn “I was written.”

  4. (often initial capital letter)Stratigraphy. noting the division intermediate between the upper and lower divisions of a period, system, or the like: the Middle Devonian.

  1. the point, part, position, etc., equidistant from extremes or limits.

  2. the central part of the human body, especially the waist: He gave him a punch in the middle.

  1. something intermediate; mean.

  2. (in farming) the ground between two rows of plants.

verb (used with or without object),mid·dled, mid·dling.
  1. Chiefly Nautical. to fold in half.

Origin of middle

First recorded before 900; Middle English, Old English middel; cognate with German mittel; akin to Old Norse methal among. See mid1

synonym study For middle

7. Middle, center, midst indicate something from which two or more other things are (approximately or exactly) equally distant. Middle denotes, literally or figuratively, the point or part equidistant from or intermediate between extremes or limits in space or in time: the middle of a road. Center, a more precise word, is ordinarily applied to a point within circular, globular, or regular bodies, or wherever a similar exactness appears to exist: the center of the earth; it may also be used metaphorically (still suggesting the core of a sphere): center of interest. Midst usually suggests that a person or thing is closely surrounded or encompassed on all sides, especially by that which is thick or dense: the midst of a storm.

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use middle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for middle


/ (ˈmɪdəl) /

  1. equally distant from the ends or periphery of something; central

  2. intermediate in status, situation, etc

  1. located between the early and late parts of a series, time sequence, etc

  2. not extreme, esp in size; medium

  3. (esp in Greek and Sanskrit grammar) denoting a voice of verbs expressing reciprocal or reflexive action: Compare active (def. 5), passive (def. 5)

  4. (usually capital) (of a language) intermediate between the earliest and the modern forms: Middle English

  1. an area or point equal in distance from the ends or periphery or in time between the early and late parts

  2. an intermediate part or section, such as the waist

  1. grammar the middle voice

  2. logic See middle term

  3. the ground between rows of growing plants

  4. a discursive article in a journal, placed between the leading articles and the book reviews

  5. cricket a position on the batting creases in alignment with the middle stumps on which a batsman may take guard

  1. to place in the middle

  2. nautical to fold in two

  1. football to return (the ball) from the wing to midfield

  2. cricket to hit (the ball) with the middle of the bat

Origin of middle

Old English middel; compare Old Frisian middel, Dutch middel, German mittel

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 middle


see caught in the middle; in the middle of; play both ends against the middle.

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