amid, amidst
Amid, recorded as a preposition and adverb before the Norman Conquest, developed two by-forms, amides (cf. always) and amidst (cf. against, amongst). Amides has dropped out of use, and amid and amidst have survived only as prepositions. In the 1880s the OED noted that ‘there is a tendency to use amidst more distributively than amid, e.g. of things scattered about, or a thing moving, in the midst of others’. It is difficult to discern this distinction maintained in current use. Both words have an air of formality, especially amidst, which is much less common (less than half the number of examples in the OEC compared with amid). Typical examples: (amid)

• I…have often stood by the Frome at Woolbridge, enjoying the mellow manor house amid its water-meadows —Times, 1987

• Victor was packed off to boarding school amid angry disputes over money —History Today, 2002

• (amidst) This woman, sitting with such modest dignity amidst my students and colleagues —Michael Frayn, 1989

• She took her bows on stage amidst baskets of flowers —ballet website, BrE 2004 [OEC].

In general use, amid and amidst have tended to be replaced by among or in the midst of.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Amidst — A*midst , Amid A*mid , prep. [OE. amidde, amiddes, on midden, AS. on middan, in the middle, fr. midde the middle. The s is an adverbial ending, originally marking the genitive; the t is a later addition, as in whilst, amongst, alongst. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • amidst — (prep.) a variant of AMID (Cf. amid) (q.v.) with adverbial genitive s and parasitic t. Amidde became amyddes (13c.) and acquired a t by 1560s, probably by association with superlatives in st. There is a tendency to use amidst more distributively… …   Etymology dictionary

  • amidst — index among Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • amidst — [ə midst′] prep. [ AMID + ME adv. gen. s + unhistoric t] AMID …   English World dictionary

  • amidst — preposition /ʌˈmɪdst,ʌˈmɪtst/ In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among. Be a philosopher ; but amidst all your philosophy, be still a man. Syn: amid, among, amongst …   Wiktionary

  • amidst — amid, amidst (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) prep. among, midst, mid. See mixture …   English dictionary for students

  • amidst — a|midst [əˈmıdst] prep literary [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: amid] amid ▪ a light that shines amidst the darkness …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • amidst — [[t]əmɪ̱dst[/t]] PREP Amidst means the same as amid. [LITERARY] Syn: amid …   English dictionary

  • amidst — amid [əˈmɪd] or amidst [əˈmɪdst] preposition 1) while something is happening or changing Banks and shops closed yesterday amid growing fears of violence.[/ex] 2) surrounded by things or people …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • amidst — amid / amidst [prep] in middle of; among amongst, between, during, in the midst of, in the thick of, mid, over, surrounded by, throughout; concepts 586,820 Ant. away from, outside, separate …   New thesaurus

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