A*midst" (#), 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 Mid.]

In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.

"This fair tree amidst the garden." "Unseen amid the throng." "Amidst thick clouds." Milton. "Amidst acclamations." "Amidst the splendor and festivity of a court." Macaulay.

But rather famish them amid their plenty. Shak.

Syn. -- Amidst, Among. These words differ to some extent from each other, as will be seen from their etymology. Amidst denotes in the midst or middle of, and hence surrounded by; as, this work was written amidst many interruptions. Among denotes a mingling or intermixing with distinct or separable objects; as, "He fell among thieves." "Blessed art thou among women." Hence, we say, among the moderns, among the ancients, among the thickest of trees, among these considerations, among the reasons I have to offer. Amid and amidst are commonly used when the idea of separate or distinguishable objects is not prominent. Hence, we say, they kept on amidst the storm, amidst the gloom, he was sinking amidst the waves, he persevered amidst many difficulties; in none of which cases could among be used. In like manner, Milton speaks of Abdiel, --

The seraph Abdiel, faithful found; Among the faithless faithful only he,

because he was then considered as one of the angels. But when the poet adds, --

From amidst them forth he passed,

we have rather the idea of the angels as a collective body.

Those squalid cabins and uncleared woods amidst which he was born. Macaulay.


© Webster 1913.

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