Definition of middle in English:

middle

Line breaks: mid¦dle
Pronunciation: /ˈmɪd(ə)l
 
/

adjective

[attributive]
  • 1At an equal distance from the extremities of something; central: the early and middle part of life middle and eastern Europe
    More example sentences
    • When comparing flushes, the highest card is compared first, then if these are equal the middle card, and finally if necessary the lowest.
    • For many years, middle and long distance running has been the strong point of our sport with field events and sprinting being the poor relations.
    • Put simply, over the past quarter of a century he has become arguably the most successful coach in the history of middle and long distance running.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1(Of a member of a group or sequence) placed so as to have the same number of members on each side: the woman was in her middle forties
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    • Each member of the team is credited with the time of the fifth team member to cross the finish line; this is the middle member of a nine-person team.
    • In their middle years, the members of the Baby Boom generation will face the inevitability of their mortality.
    • Denami, the middle brother, comes upon this bear and, thinking it killed the first brother, vows revenge.
  • 1.2Intermediate in rank, quality, or ability: there is a dearth of talent at middle level
    More example sentences
    • When it comes to deprivation, Bexley sits fairly comfortably in the middle ranks of the country but the Government-compiled figures mask a harsh reality.
    • But the real discrimination was taking place in the middle ranks and that was where we had the hardest time.
    • One of the big challenges is to recruit from the middle ranks upwards.
    Synonyms
  • 1.3(Of a language) of the period between the old and modern forms: Middle High German
  • 2 Grammar Denoting a voice of verbs in some languages, such as Greek, which expresses reciprocal or reflexive action.
    More example sentences
    • I will argue that the validity of the notion of deponency is questionable in light of a closer look at the function and meaning of the middle voice in Greek.
    • We have already observed that during the time of Hellenistic Greek, the middle voice form was losing ground to the passive.
    • The middle voice spoke not only for but also to the Greek sense of self.
  • 2.1Denoting a transitive verb in English which does not have an equivalent passive, e.g. had in he had an idea.
    More example sentences
    • Further, with all forms except the aorist and future, we are not able to tell whether a verb is middle or passive.

noun

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  • 1 [usually in singular] The point or position at an equal distance from the sides, edges, or ends of something: she stood alone in the middle of the street
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    • If the action is in the middle, both sides are cropped.
    • Well here I have a single bed, so, my favourite side is the middle.
    • In the middle of the two sides of this are large domes built on pillars of the same height as those of the outer arcade and an upper gallery runs all round it.
  • 1.1The point at or around the centre of a period of time, activity, etc.: we were married in the middle of December
    More example sentences
    • But it added that if the issues fail to be resolved through negotiations, it would launch collective activities from the middle of next month.
    • Secondly, when you do give her your gifts during the middle of the period, she will be so relieved that she won't realize that you've messed up her lecture.
    • Irma is hoping the Commission will agree to an extension of the copyright period by the middle of next year.
    Synonyms
  • 1.2 informal A person’s waist and stomach: he had a towel round his middle
    More example sentences
    • She was shorter than I was by a good ten inches, round about the middle, but with the firm energy that my father used to possess.
    • He was tall and broad-chested, if a bit round at the middle, and dressed much better than these other two.
    • One was slightly large round the middle, the other wearing a very short skirt and denim jacket.
    Synonyms
  • 2 Grammar The form or voice of a verb expressing reflexive or reciprocal action.
    More example sentences
    • Other standard grammars use different lexemes but communicate the same reflexive idea for the middle.
    • The middle, or Third Voice, can help the congregation be unafraid of conflict and to welcome it as an opportunity.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • (In cricket, tennis, etc.) strike (the ball) with the middle of the bat, racket, or club: every shot he took on, he middled
    More example sentences
    • We got him out in the 20s with a mistimed shot, but if he had middled the ball, it would have come down in Rawtenstall!
    • However, Sarwan can't be blamed too much for his dismissal, as Younis Khan held a stinging effort at short extra cover as Sarwan middled a drive.
    • I was middling the ball well and continued from where I had left off after my good score against Zimbabwe in the previous game.

Phrases

down the middle

Divided or dividing something equally into two parts: draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper figurative the country’s split down the middle on this thing
More example sentences
  • The two-ref system sees the soccer pitch divided down the middle, from goal to goal, by an imaginary line.
  • An idea is to split the trailer down the middle and divide into compartments.
  • With the nation divided down the middle, it was proof that Democrats should take nothing for granted.

in the middle of

In the process of doing (something): the company is in the middle of negotiations
More example sentences
  • We are right in the middle of our annual business planning process which I have the lead for.
  • We caught up with Wiley in the middle of hectic preparations for his second video shoot.
  • A nurse would leave in the middle of a procedure, promising to return, but fail to do so.
Involved in (something, typically something unpleasant): he was caught in the middle of the emotional triangle
More example sentences
  • We would still be in the middle of a terrible employment tribunal and discipline.
  • In fact, if experts are to be believed, we are in the middle of a shyness epidemic.

the middle of nowhere

informal see nowhere.
More example sentences
  • If I wasn't so slow, I might have been able to avoid a huge, sharp sword sticking out from the middle of nowhere, just conveniently pointing at my chest.
  • We weave our way in and out of mangrove islands, and past sticks protruding oddly from what seems like the middle of nowhere.
  • I mean, it really is the middle of nowhere - especially coming from London.
Synonyms
the back of beyond, the backwoods, the wilds, the hinterland, a backwater; Australian/New Zealand the back country, the backblocks, the booay; South African the backveld, the platteland
North American informal the boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers
Australian/New Zealand informal Woop Woop, beyond the black stump

steer (or take) a middle course

Adopt a policy which avoids extremes.
More example sentences
  • But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.
  • But both sides, while unctuously claiming that of course they themselves take a middle course and believe in both genes and culture, seemingly remain convinced that no one on the other side does.
  • The result is a comprehensive and, in places, detailed account of the life of this king that generally steers a middle course through the many controversies of his reign.

Origin

Old English middel, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch middel and German Mittel, also to mid1.

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