The Meaning of Amid: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of amid? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word amid, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word amid mean?

According to Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word amid, pronounced “əˈmɪd” is used as an adverb and preposition to mean in the middle or, or during the course of. This is very similar to the word amidst, pronounced “əˈmɪdst.” According to Dictionary, amid and amidst can be used interchangeably and mean the exact same thing. Using one or the other will never change the meaning of the sentences. Amid is more commonly used than amidst in both American English and British English. Amid was recorded before amidst, but either of these words can be used interchangeably according to personal preference. 

There are many different languages that use words that mean amid. You may notice that sometimes different languages have words that are very close to English words or to words of other languages. This is usually because the words share a root or origin. Often, cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages, are formed when words share an origin. This list of translations for the word amid is provided by Word Sense.

  • Russian: среди́‎ (+ genitive case), ме́жду‎ (+ instrumental case)
  • Bulgarian: сред‎, между‎
  • Finnish: keskellä‎, vallitessa‎
  • Hebrew: בתוך‎, בין‎, בקרב‎
  • Spanish: rodeado por, envuelto‎, entre‎, en medio de
  • Italian: in mezzo a, tra‎, fra‎
  • Egyptian Arabic: بين‎ (ben)
  • Portuguese: em meio a‎
  • Arabic: بَيْن‎
  • Slovene: srédi‎
  • Polish: wśród‎, pośród‎
  • Dutch: te midden van‎
  • French: au milieu de‎, entre‎, parmi‎, entouré de‎
  • Irish: i lár‎, i measc‎
  • Armenian: մեջ‎
  • German: inmitten‎

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word amid?

There are a variety of different words that one can use in place of the word amid. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same or a similar meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word amid is provided by Thesaurus.

  • surrounded by
  • in the midst of
  • inserted
  • between
  • over
  • in
  • throughout
  • in the thick of
  • amidst
  • centrally located
  • betwixt
  • in the seam
  • ‘tween
  • within
  • intervening
  • enclosed by
  • encompassed by
  • separating
  • amongst
  • among
  • interpolated
  • medially
  • amid
  • during
  • halfway
  • mid
  • at intervals
  • bounded by
  • in the middle
  • with
  • in dispersion through
  • midway

There are also numerous words and phrases that are antonyms for the word amid. Antonyms are words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as another word or phrase. Antonyms are helpful to know if you are trying to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms is provided by Thesaurus as well.

  • far between
  • loose
  • far-removed
  • put asunder
  • set apart
  • unattached
  • far piece
  • cut in two
  • a long way
  • stone’s throw
  • unconnected
  • sundered
  • marked
  • ways
  • independent
  • asunder
  • free
  • good ways
  • disjointed
  • detached
  • deep
  • divorced
  • apportioned
  • removed
  • partitioned
  • miles
  • long
  • afar
  • in halves
  • far-off
  • discrete
  • disunited
  • bit
  • out-of-the-way
  • set asunder
  • outlying
  • parted
  • divergent
  • divided
  • distant
  • isolated
  • distributed
  • end of rainbow
  • severed
  • abstracted
  • disassociated
  • piece
  • remote
  • a good way
  • cut apart
  • scattered
  • disembodied
  • middle of nowhere
  • apart
  • faraway
  • far-flung
  • sovereign

How can the word amid be used in a sentence?

The word amid is very common and can be used in a variety of different sentences and circumstances. This word is considered polite, and can be used in any number of contexts, from casual to formal. In this first example, Jeannie is looking for her little sister at the carnival. She approaches a worker.

Jeannie: Hi sir, is there any way to make an announcement over the loudspeaker? I lost track of my little sister amid the crowd.

Worker: Of course. Here, follow me to the booth and you can make an announcement.

Jeannie: Thank you so much.

Here, Jeannie uses amid to mean that she lost her sister in the middle of the crowd. In this next example, Jeannie is at her place of work as a human resources manager. She approaches a colleague to confront him about his allegations. 

Jeannie: Robert, could you come in here a moment?

Robert: Sure, what’s going on?

Jeannie: We have decided to place you on a temporary leave amid the reports and allegations we have received over the last couple of weeks. Please take anything you need from your desk and be out by the end of the day.

Robert: What?! 

What is the origin of the word amid?

According to Etymonline, the word amid has been used as an adverb and a preposition since the late 14th century. This comes from the Middle English amidde, used circa the year 1200. The word amidde comes from the Old English on middan meaning in the middle. This is the dative singular form of the Old English midde, meaning middle. This word comes from the Proto-Indo-European root medhyo meaning middle. This term has roots in both the Latin in medio and the Greek en meso, which were both adjective phrases that took on a genitive case. Related words to amid include amidst, mid, amidships, midshipman, and more.

Overall, the word amid means in the middle of, or during. This is a very versatile word that can be used in many different scenarios and sentences. This is very similar to the word amidst. The two can be used interchangeably according to personal preference.

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/amid/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/amid
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/amid
  4. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/separate
  5. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amid#:~:text=1%20%3A%20in%20or%20into%20the,Sentences%20Learn%20More%20about%20amid
  6. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/amid
  7. https://www.dictionary.com/e/amidst-vs-amid/