Definition of middle in English:



  • 1usually 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’
    • ‘Drain the blister with a sterile needle by piercing the edge, not the middle.’
    • ‘His furnace was placed at the middle of a side wall, where waste heat could be sucked up a chimney to prevent the workshop from becoming too hot in summer.’
    • ‘Eva sat a chair away from either, in the middle on the side of the table.’
    • ‘You don't want to pick it up on the left or the right side but in 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.’
    • ‘Later, on a much larger timescale, they gradually start to explore the positions toward the middle of the DNA segment.’
    • ‘From there, start digging from the middle out or the edge in.’
    • ‘Use a roller to make sure it adheres well - roll from the middle out to the edges.’
    • ‘If two people are erecting the structure, each takes a side of the tipi cover and pulls it around the poles until the sides meet in the middle on the far side.’
    • ‘Her blue slacks were creased neatly down the sides in the exact middle of the gold stripe that told everyone she was from Central.’
    • ‘He loses interest in the drawers and continues to walk in a crouch position toward the middle of the desk and the chair.’
    • ‘Well here I have a single bed, so, my favourite side is the middle.’
    • ‘If the action is in the middle, both sides are cropped.’
    • ‘A low table with cushions on either side occupied the middle of the room.’
    • ‘Twisting lace vines snaked up the middle on both sides of the pearl buttons.’
    • ‘Rogers learns quickly and can play the strong side and the middle.’
    • ‘About six years ago, I changed the part in my hair from the middle to the side.’
    • ‘It was a little shorter than knee length on the sides, and in the front, it got longer in a diagonal line, and the two sides overlapped in the middle.’
    • ‘This effectively levitated the stone to a floating position in the middle.’
    • ‘The two large pipe corrals were situated side by side in the middle.’
    1. 1.1 The point at or around the centre of a period of time, activity, etc.
      ‘we were married in the middle of December’
      • ‘Irma is hoping the Commission will agree to an extension of the copyright period by the middle of next year.’
      • ‘After that period to the middle of the sixteenth century they are, with the exception of those of the school of Ferrara, mostly large.’
      • ‘Cotton harvest is generally evenly distributed in activity from the middle of August through the end of November.’
      • ‘In the middle of the period, I was sitting, doing nothing when the teacher said something that caught my ear.’
      • ‘I was answering the phone with a ‘good afternoon’ by half ten in the morning and it felt like the middle of the night by the time we started this evening's show at seven.’
      • ‘The true giants did not arrive until the middle of the Cretaceous period.’
      • ‘But it added that if the issues fail to be resolved through negotiations, it would launch collective activities from the middle of next month.’
      • ‘Although it is the middle of the afternoon, the interior of the hut is dark.’
      • ‘Yesterday, however, sleet began to fall about the middle of the afternoon and continued through the night.’
      • ‘Studies of the environment indicate that the agricultural landscape of the frontier area was maintained as it had been in the Roman period until the middle of the sixth century.’
      • ‘After the middle of the Choson Period, the handles became longer and thicker and straighter and the round part became very round.’
      • ‘In the middle of the period are the splendid voluntaries, written by Henry Heron, John Keeble and William Russell.’
      • ‘In the middle of the reproductive period most bugs carry eggs.’
      • ‘In the middle of the first period, Lauren sat down next to me.’
      • ‘Aren't those jerks supposed to chirp at dawn, not the middle of the night?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The position of deputy mayor in charge of administering city funds has been vacant for nine months, but the mayor hopes to fill the position by the middle of this month.’
      • ‘Their maximum was found after the middle of the light period.’
      • ‘Our province desperately needs a party to once again position themselves in the middle where most of the voting block is.’
      • ‘In the middle of the third period, Aaron rushed into the classroom, startling everyone in the class.’
      centre, mean, median, mid point, halfway point, dead centre, focal point, focus, hub, nucleus, midst
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    2. 1.2informal A person's waist and stomach.
      ‘he had a towel round his middle’
      • ‘One was slightly large round the middle, the other wearing a very short skirt and denim jacket.’
      • ‘He was a little big round the middle, and his beard had little grey speckles in it.’
      • ‘He was tall and broad-chested, if a bit round at the middle, and dressed much better than these other two.’
      • ‘Their Italian shoes are unscuffed and their ties are always straight and they never go bald or get paunchy around the middle.’
      • ‘A middle-aged man with a round middle came running out of the supposed home office.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the other two, the one with the round middle and the one with sleek black hair, she had known all her life.’
      • ‘She yelled, grabbing me around the waist and bucking me in the middle.’
      midriff, waist, waistline, belly, gut, stomach, paunch, pot belly, beer belly
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  • 2Grammar
    The form or voice of a verb expressing reflexive or reciprocal action.

    • ‘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.’
  • 3Logic

    short for middle term


  • 1attributive At an equal distance from the extremities of something; central.

    ‘the early and middle part of life’
    ‘middle and eastern Europe’
    • ‘Apparently he will be be the last witness of the day, which means he may not testify until middle or late afternoon Eastern Time.’
    • ‘Throughout development, the peripheral cells were larger than cells of the middle or central zones in both lines.’
    • ‘The ‘power center’ retail area and anchor stores would go up in the middle and eastern part of the site.’
    • ‘We're dealing here with the rule and not the exception, the middle, not the extremities.’
    • ‘In both a lit area in the middle foreground helps to define our distance from the main object.’
    • ‘When comparing flushes, the highest card is compared first, then if these are equal the middle card, and finally if necessary the lowest.’
    • ‘The camera is on the central robot arm opposite the middle port.’
    • ‘It is common in the understory of open mixed woodlands at middle elevations in the eastern and southeastern Iberian Peninsula.’
    • ‘In the third scenario, all heavy vehicles are restricted from the use of the left and middle lanes.’
    • ‘In the new works, she reduces her choice of colors to three, merging the middle bands into a large central field.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, too, are ventures into the middle and long distance freestyles.’
    • ‘Keep to the middle path between extremes - it's easy going overboard and much harder clambering back.’
    • ‘But they forget completely about eastern, middle, and southeastern Europe.’
    • ‘Identify the price action moving toward the median or middle line.’
    • ‘Poole knows England's, as well as Britain's, standing in the world of middle and long distance running isn't as high as it once was.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The middle section shows his spine and central body organs.’
    • ‘Using electric motors, the middle seat slides rearward into a central location.’
    • ‘The goal of this study was to examine how children in the early and middle childhood periods perceive social withdrawal.’
    central, mid, mean, medium, medial, median, midway, halfway, equidistant, mesial
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    1. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Milos Valnik turned out to be a bulky man in his middle forties, probably because he was dressed for winter.’
      • ‘The trio is referred to as big brother, middle brother and small brother.’
      • ‘The instructor of visual arts was in his middle forties, equipped with a sinewy body and a receding hairline.’
      • ‘Charles and Matthew, the two middle brothers who rarely left the manor, were taken back to their quarters by servants.’
      • ‘My mother used to take me and my middle brother to bluebell woods, somewhere in Kent, just for a treat.’
      • ‘However, the WHO has not ruled out the possibility, because the middle brother cared for the elder sibling before he died.’
      • ‘Mikie was the middle brother of the five, and had been doted on by all because of his charm and good nature.’
      • ‘He was always insulting either Tom or the middle brother, Timothy.’
      • ‘Some in the union urged choosing a nurse who reflected average real nurses on the job - middle forties and overworked.’
      • ‘So Casey and Chris ran their tag-team critique past Eric, the middle brother, as they had in previous offseasons.’
      • ‘Denami, the middle brother, comes upon this bear and, thinking it killed the first brother, vows revenge.’
      • ‘Before his marriage, my middle brother converted to Judaism.’
      • ‘Suzanne and her brother Matt were the middle children in the family and neither seemed to care much about doing things proper.’
      • ‘Matt sat with one of his brothers in the middle seat, and the back seat was filled with Matt's two younger brothers.’
      • ‘In their middle years, the members of the Baby Boom generation will face the inevitability of their mortality.’
      • ‘The language in the court cases began to change during the middle two decades of the period.’
      • ‘So instead of being a film about a mouse trying to fit in with humans, we get a far more banal film about a middle brother's loneliness.’
      • ‘If it was that important to his middle brother, it was important to him, too.’
      • ‘This sculpture belongs to the period in his middle 30s when his work was mainly Cubist.’
    2. 1.2 Intermediate in rank, quality, or ability.
      ‘there is a dearth of talent at middle level’
      • ‘Most southerners are not descendants of southern aristocracy but hail from the middle ranks, like many of the people in this book.’
      • ‘But the real discrimination was taking place in the middle ranks and that was where we had the hardest time.’
      • ‘As a middle level power we have extensive experience as an honest broker, developing constructive approaches to global and regional problems.’
      • ‘He was well educated and went to Rome at the appropriate time for a member of his middle upper-class.’
      • ‘The rest are stuck at the lower and middle levels of the managerial hierarchy.’
      • ‘One of the big challenges is to recruit from the middle ranks upwards.’
      • ‘Struggling students in the intermediate and middle grades need plenty of practice in reading whole texts that are not too difficult to handle.’
      • ‘Often members of the middle and upper-middle class, these customers are willing to spend their dollars on the luxuries they love.’
      • ‘Sean is a business major and is already working in the middle ranks of a high paying company.’
      • ‘The depicted individuals were of high and middle social rank but were not always wealthy.’
      • ‘Every crop failure flings masses of the middle peasants into the ranks of the proletariat.’
      • ‘Improvements in lifestyle behaviours seem to have been achieved primarily by those with middle incomes and higher levels of education.’
      • ‘With remedial support and input from us he progressed to be in the middle level in most subjects.’
      • ‘Among big customers it happens down among the middle tiers on both sides.’
      • ‘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 novel is also haunted by a mysterious evacuation of the middle ranks.’
      • ‘At times, her attacks were directed straightforwardly against the vulgarity of the middle ranks.’
      • ‘While the union executives have advanced this project intensively, there is substantial resistance to it by a middle level of functionaries.’
      • ‘Even with a limited skill set, he should have enough left in the tank to handle the flotsam that occupies the middle ranks of the division.’
      • ‘The bulk of popular features are available at the middle subscription level.’
      intermediate, intermedial, intermediary, inner, inside
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    3. 1.3 (of a language) of the period between the old and modern forms.
      ‘Middle High German’
  • 2Grammar
    attributive Denoting a voice of verbs in some languages, such as Greek, which expresses reciprocal or reflexive action.

    • ‘The word appears in both the active and the middle voice in Luke, the Pauline corpus, Hebrews, James and 1 Peter.’
    • ‘The middle voice spoke not only for but also to the Greek sense of self.’
    • ‘We have already observed that during the time of Hellenistic Greek, the middle voice form was losing ground to the passive.’
    • ‘Is this in any way related to an inherent middle voice?’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1 Denoting a transitive verb in English which does not have an equivalent passive, e.g. had in he had an idea.
      • ‘Further, with all forms except the aorist and future, we are not able to tell whether a verb is middle or passive.’


  • (in cricket, tennis, etc.) strike (the ball) with the middle of the bat, racket, or club.

    ‘every shot he took on, he middled’
    • ‘I was middling the ball well and continued from where I had left off after my good score against Zimbabwe in the previous game.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Patel, who was middling the ball quite well during his 203 minute vigil at the crease, edged an outside-the-off-stump delivery from Akbar to see Kamran Akmal take a superb diving catch behind the stumps.’
    • ‘‘Every shot he took on, he middled,’ said an admiring Collingwood.’
    • ‘The fact is, I focus on middling the ball for the ‘feel.’’


  • 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’
      • ‘One has to have a central line down the middle of the book to hold the design together.’
      • ‘Within a week, he said, there'll be a chalk line down the middle of the living room, with one of you on either side.’
      • ‘The two-ref system sees the soccer pitch divided down the middle, from goal to goal, by an imaginary line.’
      • ‘There must be a magic line down the middle of the street that divides the good air from the bad air.’
      • ‘The road is narrow, admittedly, but there is a white line down the middle.’
      • ‘These two divide their page down the middle, one column each, and blog independently of each other.’
      • ‘On the second mirror a thin line is placed running down the middle from top to bottom.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He jumps to his feet and draws an imaginary line down the middle of the table.’
  • in the middle of

    • 1In the process of doing (something)

      ‘the company is in the middle of negotiations’
      • ‘A nurse would leave in the middle of a procedure, promising to return, but fail to do so.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Involved in (something, typically something unpleasant)
        ‘he was caught in the middle of the emotional triangle’
        • ‘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.’
  • steer (or take) a middle course

    • Adopt a policy which avoids extremes.

      • ‘The United States has generally been served best by toughminded leaders who steered a middle course.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But Guy reveals how Mary shrewdly steered a middle course between her enemies and supporters.’


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