among, amongst
1. Among is now roughly ten times more common than amongst. It is the oldest form, which gave rise to the by-forms amonges (14c, no longer in use) and among(e)st (16c). There is no demonstrable difference of meaning between the two forms, and the distribution is unclear except that amongst seems to be less common in AmE than in BrE. An older view, which Fowler (1926) followed, that amongst is commoner before a word beginning with a vowel, is not borne out by the evidence (the most common word following amongst, as with among, is in fact the). Examples: (among)

• The giants war among themselves —J. M. Coetzee, 1977

• There were a lot of young people among the temporary staff —Penelope Fitzgerald, 1980

• Britain also has the lowest level of welfare expenditure among the countries of the European Community —Times, 1985

• (amongst) They stood on the edges of the lamplight amongst the wattles by the creek —Peter Carey, 1988

• If a settled view is formed amongst voters that the additional money on the NHS has been wasted progressive politics will be in trouble for decades —Independent, 2007.

2. Among is much more often used than amongst in the expression among other things. This expression is strictly illogical, since among is inclusive and other is exclusive, but it is well established and usually causes no adverse comment. Perhaps it gets by on the coat-tails of the Latin equivalent inter alia, also self-contradictory but which few would venture to challenge.
3. For choice of among and between, see between 2.

Modern English usage. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Among — A*mong , Amongst A*mongst , prep. [OE. amongist, amonges, amonge, among, AS. onmang, ongemang, gemang, in a crowd or mixture. For the ending st see {Amidst}. See {Mingle}.] 1. Mixed or mingled; surrounded by. [1913 Webster] They heard, And from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • among — /euh mung /, prep. 1. in, into, or through the midst of; in association or connection with; surrounded by: He was among friends. 2. in the midst of, so as to influence: missionary work among the local people. 3. with a share for each of: Divide… …   Universalium

  • among — also amongst preposition Etymology: among from Middle English, from Old English on gemonge, from on + gemonge, dative of gemong crowd, from ge (associative prefix) + mong (akin to Old English mengan to mix); amongst from Middle English amonges,… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • Among the Living — Album par Anthrax Sortie 22 Mars 1987 Enregistrement Octobre Novembre 1986 Durée 50:13 Genre Thrash metal Producteur …   Wikipédia en Français

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