Definition of between in English:

between

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’
    • ‘I slept in a cramped space, hidden between boxes of goods, alongside other people.’
    • ‘Drop your jaw at the back, so that there is space between your back molars.’
    • ‘This works best if there is a space between your car and the next car down in the car park.’
    • ‘The dining room is filled with big and small tables and only an elbow of space is left between the tables.’
    • ‘The proposal to use this space between the flats and the traffic would cause nothing but trouble.’
    • ‘Police yesterday released a map showing the route the stolen car may have travelled between the two locations.’
    • ‘Shakily I follow the same course, yanking myself into the space between two broad slabs.’
    • ‘One of the key sites up for consideration is the space between the Town Hall and Laurence House.’
    • ‘I read of reports where people were slipping it beneath the slot, in the space between the slot and the box.’
    • ‘He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.’
    • ‘The houses were built close to each other with hardly any space between them.’
    • ‘It sits at street level between the two living spaces in the basement and on the first floor.’
    • ‘He said a villa in its real sense must be an independent house with much space between it and its neighbour.’
    • ‘In fact, there is no space between the platforms for the buses to align as they are expected to.’
    • ‘They used a parking space between the cottage and the river and began to unpack.’
    • ‘Furthermore, higher speeds mean that the spaces between trains need to be greater for braking.’
    • ‘When stopped in traffic, leave sufficient space between your car and the vehicle in front’
    • ‘Annual beds should be filled out by this time with little if any space between plants.’
    • ‘Make sure that you only put in a single layer at a time and leave plenty of space between them.’
    • ‘Even then the director rode the bike between camera locations so I didn't tire!’
    in the middle of, with one … on either side
    View synonyms
  • 2In the period separating (two points in time)

    ‘they snack between meals’
    ‘the long, cold nights between autumn and spring’
    • ‘Rose-pruning is also best done at this time of year, although it can be done any time between autumn and spring.’
    • ‘Instead of sweets or biscuits, give cheese or fruits as snacks between meals.’
    • ‘It appears that eating three main meals a day and two to three snacks in between the main meals is the way to go.’
    • ‘The child was being taught his letters in the intervals between customers.’
    • ‘Bear hunting is permitted in Russia for a period in spring and between August and October.’
    • ‘Avoid sugary drinks and snacks between meals and especially at bedtime.’
    • ‘Try to ensure that most of the time the snacks and drinks between meals are healthy.’
    • ‘Play will start at the allocated time each day, with a 15 minute interval between matches.’
    • ‘We generally allow a slack period between completing the purchase and actually moving in.’
    • ‘They are designed to ensure that the aircrew obtain adequate sleep between duty periods.’
    • ‘The period between the first and the second world wars was extremely tumultuous.’
    • ‘The vessel was built and fitted out over a period of seven months between February and August.’
    • ‘Since the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday I've been totally deaf in my left ear.’
    • ‘Germans never applaud between the movements of a sonata, or before the end of an act at the opera.’
    • ‘It feels like we're on the very edge between summer and autumn even though the calendar says it's too early.’
    • ‘The interval between trying for a pregnancy and conception ranged from four to 24 months.’
    • ‘There was not even a breathing space between the songs, as one flowed after the other.’
    • ‘The subject was asked to perform this test three times at an interval of five minutes between each.’
    • ‘Expanding or improving your home is a good possibility between now and next autumn.’
    • ‘Do the same for the night-time hours by dividing the period between sunset and sunrise by 12.’
  • 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’
    • ‘If you are aged between 11 and 18 and go to school in Sutton, you can stand for election.’
    • ‘The children who attend the forty-two camps around America are aged between two and fourteen.’
    • ‘One way to access higher interest rates is to tie up money in a fixed-rate account for between one and five years.’
    • ‘Initial tests have shown she is of Asian or Oriental origin and is aged between 20 and 40.’
    • ‘I've done it a few times, for periods varying between a week and several months.’
    • ‘The vast majority of people who visited the region did so for between one to three days.’
    • ‘The girl was able to tell detectives the car driver was white and aged between 30 and 40.’
    • ‘The company leases equipment for a period of between three and five years to milk farms in return for raw milk.’
    • ‘She takes her three sons, aged between one and four, to school and pre-school.’
    • ‘Thirty two were imprisoned for periods of between seven days and two months.’
    • ‘The children, aged between four and seven, used recycled materials to make a Christmas scene.’
    • ‘Typically, you will be looking at a period of between five and ten years.’
    • ‘It has an incubation period of between two and 10 days and initial symptoms are similar to flu.’
    • ‘The local experience indicated that the incubation period is between two and 11 days.’
    • ‘Since then around 4,000 people have joined him on walks across the region of between one and four miles.’
    • ‘The victims were aged between eight and nine, and one of them was very seriously injured.’
    • ‘The scheme is scheduled to last between three and six nights, depending on weather conditions.’
    • ‘They breed all year round, after a gestation period of between five to six months.’
    • ‘Its two universities are now creating between six and 10 company start-ups a year.’
    • ‘The council plans to care for eight children, aged between ten and 16, at the proposed new home.’
  • 4Indicating a connection or relationship involving two or more parties.

    ‘links between science and industry’
    ‘negotiations between the two companies are continuing’
    • ‘There was a deal done between the trade union movement and the labour government back in 1988.’
    • ‘In this case there were no negotiations or discussions between the parties directly.’
    • ‘It examines relationships between six men whose lives are linked by poker.’
    • ‘He will be going into schools and creating partnerships between the schools and the club.’
    • ‘It also reveals the relationship between exploration, science and technology.’
    • ‘Secret talks have been held between the two rival sides.’
    • ‘The organization has played a very useful role in establishing links between these parties.’
    • ‘It took five months of negotiations between the two parties to finalize the agreement.’
    • ‘Encouraging business between the region and the UK has been part of the prime minister's trip.’
    • ‘Negotiations will then start between the parties to see if they can work together.’
    • ‘The film focuses on a turbulent period in the collaboration between the two songwriters.’
    • ‘Mr Sunderland spoke particularly of the relationship between employer and employees in the old days.’
    • ‘The new deal was thrashed out during another lengthy meeting between the two sides in the city yesterday.’
    • ‘You will simply hand them a greater opportunity to create a bond between them.’
    • ‘There was for a period a constant dialogue between journals, groups, and individual creators.’
    • ‘I see the massive bond that's created between people who are on a mission together.’
    • ‘They also noted excellent relationships between staff, pupils and parents.’
    • ‘The relationship between art and politics has always been a vexed one.’
    • ‘The plans will just fragment healthcare and create further distance between patient and doctor.’
    • ‘The bond between the trade union movement and the Labour Party is a century old and was forged at the latter's birth.’
    connecting, linking, joining
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 With 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’
      • ‘He is a good man and I do not blame him, but for a period there were problems between us.’
      • ‘The presenter tried to artificially create an argument between the two.’
      • ‘The judge said he hoped steps had been taken to avoid such a conflict between the two authorities arising in the future.’
      • ‘Now what I want to do is to avoid creating problems between the two countries.’
      • ‘But the truce has been severely strained by nightly fighting between the two sides.’
      • ‘As Peter becomes more immersed in his dilemma, it creates a rift between him and the important people in his life.’
      • ‘This weakens the unity of the university and creates tension between departments.’
      • ‘Adults are also discouraged from intervening in conflicts that arise between the children.’
      • ‘This includes a plan to introduce a mediation programme to deal with conflicts between staff.’
      • ‘The disagreements between scientists created apprehension among the public.’
      • ‘Armed conflict between clans, often over access to water, breaks out sporadically.’
      • ‘One theory is that the moon was formed from debris left after a collision between the earth and another planet.’
      • ‘To have created this rift between himself and his beloved daughter was almost more than he could bear.’
      • ‘Four other people were injured in the collision between a Vauxhall Cavalier and Ford Fiesta.’
      • ‘Videogames imply conflict, either between players, or a single player battling a computer.’
      • ‘The inability to communicate is one of the sources of conflict between the characters.’
      • ‘He considered such policies would create division between the two communities.’
      • ‘A bank official in Dublin, he died in a collision between a car and a jeep not far from his home.’
      • ‘Things nearly got out of hand in the minute leading up to the interval with angry exchanges between groups of players.’
      • ‘It was responsible for the mid-air collision last month between a cargo plane and a Russian airliner.’
    2. 4.2 With reference to a contrast or failure to correspond.
      ‘the difference between income and expenditure’
      • ‘During this period the gap between most forms of high culture and popular culture remained wide.’
      • ‘For example, is it the impact of long hours, or is it the contrast between expectations and reality?’
      • ‘Call it the difference between discreet concealed lighting and a flashing red neon sign.’
      • ‘On the technological side the gap between African states and Western armies is even greater.’
      • ‘This most basic of resources is facing a classic collision between supply and demand.’
      • ‘Inconsistencies between the account given by the appellant and that given by Sharpe are also relied on.’
      • ‘They saw a distinction between later accounts of events, and eyewitness evidence.’
      • ‘It pays to examine the facts, and along the way try to separate the crucial difference between cause and effect.’
      • ‘In Indonesia, you are very concerned about disparity between rich and poor regions.’
      • ‘The contrast between what you hope for and what you experience seems disappointing!’
      • ‘The imbalance in police resources between York and rural North Yorkshire has at last begun to be addressed.’
      • ‘In his statement Mr Cook offered no explanation for the discrepancy between the accounts.’
      • ‘How is the enormous gap between the exit poll numbers and the actual vote totals to be explained?’
      • ‘Having said that there is still an enormous gap between the share price and the net asset value.’
      • ‘How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?’
      • ‘Some things sadden me, particularly the poverty and the great contrast between the rich and the poor.’
      • ‘Contrasts in lifestyle between rural and urban life were still enormous.’
      • ‘This creates a gap between where the customer is today and where he or she would like to be.’
      • ‘The consequence for health has been to create a wide gap between the seriously rich and the extremely poor.’
      • ‘How do you explain the contrast between your watercolours and these aggressive poster designs?’
    3. 4.3 With reference to a choice or differentiation involving two or more things being considered together.
      ‘you have to choose between two or three different options’
      • ‘I've just realised I'm creating a distinction between mental and physical freedom here.’
      • ‘By turning inward the church has helped to create a greater distinction between secular and sacred.’
      • ‘The second course was a choice between a sorbet or soup of the day, which turned out to be pumpkin with stilton.’
      • ‘Girls have a choice between the traditional Guides or joining the Scouts.’
      • ‘Just one extra qualification or skill could make all the difference between getting an interview or not.’
      • ‘A distinction needs to be made between opinion polls and the unique category of exit polls.’
      • ‘If there is a choice between a new apartment and a more classic type of home, the latter will win out every time.’
      • ‘Users will now be given the possibility of a choice between different suppliers at an earlier time.’
      • ‘It was a tough decision for the organizers of this meet to choose between these two great locations.’
      • ‘She is given a choice between her job and her boyfriend and she chooses her job without a second's hesitation.’
      • ‘You have to make a differentiation between what is sensational hype and what isn't.’
      • ‘One of the biggest differences between men and women is their respective needs.’
      • ‘The whole idea of elections is that there should be a choice between a number of candidates.’
      • ‘My children have grown up seeing no difference between gay and straight people.’
      • ‘It is my contention that the difference between a monarchy and a republic would be symbolic only.’
      • ‘This will give consumers a choice between buying brand new cartridges or reusing old ones.’
      • ‘Given a choice between two ways to make money, everyone chooses the way that makes us feel good.’
      • ‘If it comes to making a choice between paying off your credit card bill or paying your mortgage, pay the mortgage.’
      • ‘In this account we distinguish between chemical and physical soil attributes.’
      • ‘Many now face a stark choice between closure and raising fees to a level which may be beyond low-paid parents.’
  • 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’
    • ‘We were lucky that between us we had a huge wealth of Internet knowledge to call on for assistance, which turned out to be invaluable.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved a victory and they barely created a worthwhile chance between them.’
    • ‘We had 34 dollars between us.’
    1. 5.1 Shared by (two or more people or things)
      ‘they had drunk between them a bottle of Chianti’
      • ‘Granddad and Uncle Gordon shared the driving between them, which wasn't too bad.’
      • ‘The proposed new facilities would be shared between schools and the community.’
      • ‘An association of the families said the sum would be shared between 238 claimants.’
      • ‘The health drive continued with dessert as we decided to share one between us.’
      • ‘The landlord may request an extra payment for large repairs, but this should be shared between all the tenants.’
      • ‘The medals are generally shared between the Australians, Canadians and English.’
      • ‘The profit from the sale of the painting was to be shared equally between them.’
      • ‘The older couple next to me are reading a paper, sharing the sections between them.’
      • ‘There are also plans to allow network sharing between licence holders.’
      • ‘The ability to share files between any two computers on the network was an explicit goal of the Internet, from day one.’
      • ‘She stood as an Independent instead, splitting the vote between the two sides.’
      • ‘All profits that the farm collect are shared between all of the members equally.’
      • ‘The money is designed to be shared out between all the staff at the schools, from headteacher to caretaker.’
      • ‘The minibus will be shared between the two charities and is due to be handed over at the end of January 2005.’
      • ‘Vocal duties are shared between six female singers, who keep the emphasis on the soothing.’
      • ‘All profits were shared between the sports hall fund and a chosen sports charity.’
      • ‘We had ordered a case of beer to share between us.’
      • ‘A limited sum of money is available to fund the game at the elite end, and it is currently shared out between nine clubs.’
      • ‘The school's library currently has just a handful of books to share between 300 pupils.’
      • ‘Two people shared the second prize and the third prize was shared between six people.’

adverb

  • 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’
    • ‘He wants to create four swimming pools within the existing boundary of the lake and fill in all the space in between.’
    • ‘Shrubs could also be planted between, creating a pleasant outlook at minimal cost.’
    • ‘The spaces in between are enclosed with glass, making two internal courtyards.’
    • ‘They are separated by panels of chain fencing and the space between dotted with waste bins and park benches.’
    • ‘The small space in between allowed a continuous flow of air to ventilate the rooms below.’
    • ‘There were pieces everywhere and blank spaces in between.’
    • ‘We must not continue to develop and destroy what is left of the green space in between.’
  • 2In the period separating two points in time.

    ‘sets of exercises with no rest in between’
    • ‘Clear separation of standards was achieved by running the plate three times, with a drying period in between.’
    • ‘Eating dimsum for all three meals and in between will make you very very fat.’
    • ‘They discussed the theme of the songs in the course of tuition classes and the intervals in between.’
    • ‘In between, they create art installations, digital videos and vibrant collages.’
    • ‘My own work has proceeded in fits and starts throughout the holiday, with long intervals of idleness in between.’
    • ‘It is the years in between which account for the accent and body art.’
    • ‘She may find that her occasional chocolate binges wane if she eats regular meals with healthy snacks in between.’
    • ‘While some of the songs are used in full, a few are played in between to create the mood.’
    • ‘That was also about the time the world became subject to the ice ages, with warm periods in between.’

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)

    • In confidence.

      ‘just between you and me, he's a bit boring’
      • ‘Just between you and me, I've got a bit of a thing for this hot chick.’
      • ‘Between you and me, I fear the same thing is going to happen in this new euro era.’
      • ‘Between you and me, there's something about the British that gets under my skin.’
      • ‘Just between you and me, though, I'll bet he gets left in the dust.’
      • ‘Frankly, between you and me, I'm getting a little worried about him.’
      • ‘Between you and me, he is a really top bloke.’
      • ‘Between you and me, how much time does it take an ordinary citizen to meet an official?’
      • ‘So, just between you and me, didn't it help to spread a little cash around on both of these stories?’
      between us, entre nous, in confidence, in strict confidence, confidentially, in private, privately, off the record
      View synonyms
  • between you, me, and the bedpost (or gatepost or wall)

    • informal In strict confidence.

      ‘between you, me, and the bedpost, I should never have given him the job’
      discreetly, privately, confidentially, secretly, unofficially, off the record, between ourselves, between you and me, between you and me and the bedpost, between you and me and the doorpost, between you and me and the gatepost, between you and me and the wall
      View synonyms
  • (in) between times (or whiles)

    • In the intervals between other actions.

      ‘I have seen to the needs of my child, and in between times I have cooked the meals’
      • ‘In between times, short of cash, he had voiced his own character in a series of five-minute TV cartoon films.’
      • ‘In between times he will be sharpening up his football coaching skills as a part-time Development Officer.’
      • ‘In between times I resume normal life, which is good.’
      • ‘The problem with this is it doesn't say much for what has happened in between times.’
      • ‘In between times I would phone Mary and tell her my latest news.’
      • ‘Our refuse is now only going to be collected every two weeks and between times we get a garden refuse collection and the existing recycle collection.’
      • ‘In between times we visited all the places of significance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They meet for dinner six times a year, rotating among each other's houses, and between times members often get together for sailing, theater, or concerts.’
      • ‘In between times, he has spent long hours preparing for his various TV appearances.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

between

/bɪˈtwiːn/