Between? Among? Amongst? A grammar question.

When using “between” or “among” is between only for 2 things and among for more?

What is the difference between “among” and “amongst?”

Er, for what it’s worth, I reckon between two things but among three or more.

Plus I don’t think there is any real difference between among and amongst, here in Blighty at least. Similarly, while and whilst. But I could be wrong - and frequently am.

Ah, an opportunity to plug the excellent World Wide Words website (I am not affiliated etc.), which has a page about while vs. whilst which also mentions among vs. amongst. It seems that there’s no difference in meaning between (among?) the two words.

Between can also be used for multiple options in some cases: “The airline flew between New York, Chicago, and Denver.” Though there are three cities, the plane only flies between two at a time, saying “The plane flew among New York, Chicago, and Denver” implies it’s all over the place.

“amongst” is a British version of “among.” The two words are synonyms.

Here is what Merriam Webster has to say:

amongst means the same as among but perhaps is slightly archaic, or at least less commonly used, in the U.S.

They’re synonymous, and many Brits regard ‘amongst’ as superfluous, or even as pretentious. Indeed, indiscriminate alternation between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ can occassions suggest that a writer has not thoroughly understood the implications of individual words (important in an academic context), and therefore serves as a trigger to look for other sloppy almost-synonymous interchages.

Amongst is also a rural Southern usage, as in the tag line to the joke Knock him out John—“Just shoot up here amongst us, one of us got to have some relief!” (John is up a tree with an angry racoon.)

Aren’t we forgetting amid and amidst?

My impression, which may be inaccurate, is that amongst implies a complete distribution to all potential recipients, or is synonymous with amidst implying ‘in the middle of’ – insofar as it is not merely pretentious.

“Between” implies a specific location or distribution. “The center of an equilateral triangle is equidistant from all three points, and lies between them in the visual center of the triangle.” “Among” just does not work there. “Among,” on the other hand, suggests a more general location or distribution – “the loaves and fishes were distributed among the crowd” or “he walked among the crowds gathered to meet him.”

This may be a completely illegal hijack as it has nothing at all to do with the OP.I have saved a number of word/phrase etymology sites I just tried world wide words, which I hadn’t heard of before,to track the background of a phrase I couldn’t find anywhere else,and they didn’t have it either.
The phrase is,“the jig is up”.
Could it be an old racist saying,or possibly mean that the dance is over? Can anyone help?
I apologize to the OP.

It finally occurred to me to google it,and I was sent to a site called “take our word for it”, where I found tha it does indeed mean,"the game is up or “it’s all over”.
The site’s at: and I’m bookmarking that one,too.

Damn, there are at least three mistakes in this little post. Well,screw 'em.

Amongst is archaic? Possibly so, but “Among other things …” is widely said/written.


That’s “Amongst other things …”