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between

Line breaks: be|tween
Pronunciation: /bɪˈtwiːn
 
/

Definition of between in English:

preposition

1At, into, or across the space separating (two objects or regions): the border between Mexico and the United States the dog crawled between us and lay down at our feet those who travel by train between London and Paris
More example sentences
  • Furthermore, higher speeds mean that the spaces between trains need to be greater for braking.
  • He said a villa in its real sense must be an independent house with much space between it and its neighbour.
  • When stopped in traffic, leave sufficient space between your car and the vehicle in front
Synonyms
in the middle of, with one … on either side
archaic betwixt
2In the period separating (two points in time): they snack between meals the long, cold nights between autumn and spring
More example sentences
  • Avoid sugary drinks and snacks between meals and especially at bedtime.
  • It appears that eating three main meals a day and two to three snacks in between the main meals is the way to go.
  • Instead of sweets or biscuits, give cheese or fruits as snacks between meals.
3In the interval separating (two points on a scale): a man aged between 18 and 30 between 25 and 40 per cent off children’s clothes
More example sentences
  • Initial tests have shown she is of Asian or Oriental origin and is aged between 20 and 40.
  • The council plans to care for eight children, aged between ten and 16, at the proposed new home.
  • She takes her three sons, aged between one and four, to school and pre-school.
4Indicating a connection or relationship involving two or more parties: links between science and industry negotiations between the two companies are continuing
More example sentences
  • It also reveals the relationship between exploration, science and technology.
  • It examines relationships between six men whose lives are linked by poker.
  • Negotiations will then start between the parties to see if they can work together.
Synonyms
4.1With reference to a collision or conflict: a collision in mid-air between two light aircraft the 14th- and 15th-century wars between England and France
More example sentences
  • It was responsible for the mid-air collision last month between a cargo plane and a Russian airliner.
  • Four other people were injured in the collision between a Vauxhall Cavalier and Ford Fiesta.
  • One theory is that the moon was formed from debris left after a collision between the earth and another planet.
4.2With reference to a contrast or failure to correspond: the difference between income and expenditure
More example sentences
  • The contrast between what you hope for and what you experience seems disappointing!
  • Contrasts in lifestyle between rural and urban life were still enormous.
  • How do you explain the contrast between your watercolours and these aggressive poster designs?
4.3With reference to a choice or differentiation involving two or more things being considered together: you have to choose between two or three different options
More example sentences
  • Given a choice between two ways to make money, everyone chooses the way that makes us feel good.
  • She is given a choice between her job and her boyfriend and she chooses her job without a second's hesitation.
  • Users will now be given the possibility of a choice between different suppliers at an earlier time.
5By combining the resources or actions of (two or more people or other entities): we have created something between us oxygen and nitrogen between them account for 99 per cent of air
More example sentences
  • Neither side deserved a victory and they barely created a worthwhile chance between them.
  • Between them they had the technical knowledge required to see this client through the changes quickly and effectively.
  • Between them they have over 45 years of combined experience to offer their customers.
5.1Shared by (two or more people or things): they had drunk between them a bottle of Chianti
More example sentences
  • There are also plans to allow network sharing between licence holders.
  • The landlord may request an extra payment for large repairs, but this should be shared between all the tenants.
  • We had ordered a case of beer to share between us.

adverb

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1In or along the space separating two objects or regions: layers of paper with tar in between from Leipzig to Dresden, with the gentle Elbe flowing between
More example sentences
  • They are separated by panels of chain fencing and the space between dotted with waste bins and park benches.
  • There were pieces everywhere and blank spaces in between.
  • He wants to create four swimming pools within the existing boundary of the lake and fill in all the space in between.
2In the period separating two points in time: sets of exercises with no rest in between
More example sentences
  • Clear separation of standards was achieved by running the plate three times, with a drying period in between.
  • That was also about the time the world became subject to the ice ages, with warm periods in between.
  • She may find that her occasional chocolate binges wane if she eats regular meals with healthy snacks in between.

Origin

Old English betwēonum, from be 'by' + a Germanic word related to two.

Usage

In standard English it is correct to say between you and me and wrong to say between you and I. Why is this? A preposition such as between should be followed by object pronouns such as me, him, her, and us rather than subject pronouns such as I, he, she, and we. Thus it is right to say between us or between him and her and it is clearly wrong to say between we or between he and she. The mistake between you and I arises from a confusion between what follows a preposition and what ordinarily comes at the beginning of a sentence. Many people know that it is wrong to say John and me went to the shops and that the right wording is John and I went to the shops- after all, no adult would say me went to the shops. Some people assume that ‘and me’ should in all cases be replaced by ‘and I’, and so in trying to avoid one kind of error create another one.

Phrases

between ourselves (or you and me)

1
In confidence: just between you and me, he’s a bit boring
More example sentences
  • Just between you and me, I've got a bit of a thing for this hot chick.
  • Frankly, between you and me, I'm getting a little worried about him.
  • Between you and me, he is a really top bloke.
Synonyms
between us, entre nous, in (strict) confidence, confidentially, in private, privately, off the record
informal between you and me and the bedpost/gatepost/wall

(in) between times (or whiles)

2
In the intervals between other actions: I have seen to the needs of my child, and in between times I have cooked the meals
More example sentences
  • And, in between times, I took the camera out of its case and gave it a good work-out, just to be sure that it doesn't feel neglected.
  • The problem with this is it doesn't say much for what has happened in between times.
  • In between times I resume normal life, which is good.

Definition of between in:

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