Definition of middle in English:

middle

adjective

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

    ‘the early and middle part of life’
    ‘middle and eastern Europe’
    • ‘The goal of this study was to examine how children in the early and middle childhood periods perceive social withdrawal.’
    • ‘In the third scenario, all heavy vehicles are restricted from the use of the left and middle lanes.’
    • ‘It is common in the understory of open mixed woodlands at middle elevations in the eastern and southeastern Iberian Peninsula.’
    • ‘In both a lit area in the middle foreground helps to define our distance from the main object.’
    • ‘Using electric motors, the middle seat slides rearward into a central location.’
    • ‘We're dealing here with the rule and not the exception, the middle, not the extremities.’
    • ‘Identify the price action moving toward the median or middle line.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Throughout development, the peripheral cells were larger than cells of the middle or central zones in both lines.’
    • ‘But they forget completely about eastern, middle, and southeastern Europe.’
    • ‘The middle section shows his spine and central body organs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Apparently he will be be the last witness of the day, which means he may not testify until middle or late afternoon Eastern Time.’
    • ‘The ‘power center’ retail area and anchor stores would go up in the middle and eastern part of the site.’
    • ‘Keep to the middle path between extremes - it's easy going overboard and much harder clambering back.’
    • ‘When comparing flushes, the highest card is compared first, then if these are equal the middle card, and finally if necessary the lowest.’
    • ‘So, too, are ventures into the middle and long distance freestyles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the new works, she reduces her choice of colors to three, merging the middle bands into a large central field.’
    • ‘The camera is on the central robot arm opposite the middle port.’
    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’
      • ‘The instructor of visual arts was in his middle forties, equipped with a sinewy body and a receding hairline.’
      • ‘He was always insulting either Tom or the middle brother, Timothy.’
      • ‘Before his marriage, my middle brother converted to Judaism.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some in the union urged choosing a nurse who reflected average real nurses on the job - middle forties and overworked.’
      • ‘This sculpture belongs to the period in his middle 30s when his work was mainly Cubist.’
      • ‘Denami, the middle brother, comes upon this bear and, thinking it killed the first brother, vows revenge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The trio is referred to as big brother, middle brother and small brother.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mikie was the middle brother of the five, and had been doted on by all because of his charm and good nature.’
      • ‘The language in the court cases began to change during the middle two decades of the period.’
      • ‘If it was that important to his middle brother, it was important to him, too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So Casey and Chris ran their tag-team critique past Eric, the middle brother, as they had in previous offseasons.’
      • ‘However, the WHO has not ruled out the possibility, because the middle brother cared for the elder sibling before he died.’
      • ‘In their middle years, the members of the Baby Boom generation will face the inevitability of their mortality.’
      • ‘Milos Valnik turned out to be a bulky man in his middle forties, probably because he was dressed for winter.’
    2. 1.2 Intermediate in rank, quality, or ability:
      ‘there is a dearth of talent at middle level’
      • ‘Struggling students in the intermediate and middle grades need plenty of practice in reading whole texts that are not too difficult to handle.’
      • ‘While the union executives have advanced this project intensively, there is substantial resistance to it by a middle level of functionaries.’
      • ‘The rest are stuck at the lower and middle levels of the managerial hierarchy.’
      • ‘Improvements in lifestyle behaviours seem to have been achieved primarily by those with middle incomes and higher levels of education.’
      • ‘Most southerners are not descendants of southern aristocracy but hail from the middle ranks, like many of the people in this book.’
      • ‘With remedial support and input from us he progressed to be in the middle level in most subjects.’
      • ‘He was well educated and went to Rome at the appropriate time for a member of his middle upper-class.’
      • ‘The depicted individuals were of high and middle social rank but were not always wealthy.’
      • ‘Sean is a business major and is already working in the middle ranks of a high paying company.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The bulk of popular features are available at the middle subscription level.’
      • ‘Every crop failure flings masses of the middle peasants into the ranks of the proletariat.’
      • ‘Often members of the middle and upper-middle class, these customers are willing to spend their dollars on the luxuries they love.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At times, her attacks were directed straightforwardly against the vulgarity of the middle ranks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Among big customers it happens down among the middle tiers on both sides.’
      • ‘As a middle level power we have extensive experience as an honest broker, developing constructive approaches to global and regional problems.’
      • ‘But the novel is also haunted by a mysterious evacuation of the middle ranks.’
      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
    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.’

noun

  • 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’
    • ‘Drain the blister with a sterile needle by piercing the edge, not the middle.’
    • ‘Use a roller to make sure it adheres well - roll from the middle out to the edges.’
    • ‘You don't want to pick it up on the left or the right side but in the middle.’
    • ‘Well here I have a single bed, so, my favourite side is the middle.’
    • ‘Eva sat a chair away from either, in the middle on the side of the table.’
    • ‘From there, start digging from the middle out or the edge in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The two large pipe corrals were situated side by side in the middle.’
    • ‘About six years ago, I changed the part in my hair from the middle to the side.’
    • ‘This effectively levitated the stone to a floating position in the middle.’
    • ‘He loses interest in the drawers and continues to walk in a crouch position toward the middle of the desk and the chair.’
    • ‘If the action is in the middle, both sides are cropped.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A low table with cushions on either side occupied the middle of the room.’
    • ‘Rogers learns quickly and can play the strong side and the middle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her blue slacks were creased neatly down the sides in the exact middle of the gold stripe that told everyone she was from Central.’
    • ‘Twisting lace vines snaked up the middle on both sides of the pearl buttons.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After the middle of the Choson Period, the handles became longer and thicker and straighter and the round part became very round.’
      • ‘Yesterday, however, sleet began to fall about the middle of the afternoon and continued through the night.’
      • ‘Although it is the middle of the afternoon, the interior of the hut is dark.’
      • ‘The true giants did not arrive until the middle of the Cretaceous period.’
      • ‘Irma is hoping the Commission will agree to an extension of the copyright period by the middle of next year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the middle of the period are the splendid voluntaries, written by Henry Heron, John Keeble and William Russell.’
      • ‘But it added that if the issues fail to be resolved through negotiations, it would launch collective activities from the middle of next month.’
      • ‘In the middle of the reproductive period most bugs carry eggs.’
      • ‘Cotton harvest is generally evenly distributed in activity from the middle of August through the end of November.’
      • ‘Aren't those jerks supposed to chirp at dawn, not the middle of the night?’
      • ‘In the middle of the first period, Lauren sat down next to me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After that period to the middle of the sixteenth century they are, with the exception of those of the school of Ferrara, mostly large.’
      • ‘In the middle of the period, I was sitting, doing nothing when the teacher said something that caught my ear.’
      • ‘Their maximum was found after the middle of the light period.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘But the other two, the one with the round middle and the one with sleek black hair, she had known all her life.’
      • ‘One was slightly large round the middle, the other wearing a very short skirt and denim jacket.’
      • ‘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 a little big round the middle, and his beard had little grey speckles in it.’
      • ‘She yelled, grabbing me around the waist and bucking me in the middle.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • (in cricket, tennis, etc.) strike (the ball) with the middle of the bat, racket, or club:

    ‘every shot he took on, he middled’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fact is, I focus on middling the ball for the ‘feel.’’
    • ‘‘Every shot he took on, he middled,’ said an admiring Collingwood.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’

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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There must be a magic line down the middle of the street that divides the good air from the bad air.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One has to have a central line down the middle of the book to hold the design together.’
      • ‘The road is narrow, admittedly, but there is a white line down the middle.’
      • ‘He jumps to his feet and draws an imaginary line down the middle of the table.’
      • ‘The two-ref system sees the soccer pitch divided down the middle, from goal to goal, by an imaginary line.’
      • ‘On the second mirror a thin line is placed running down the middle from top to bottom.’
      • ‘These two divide their page down the middle, one column each, and blog independently of each other.’
  • 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 caught up with Wiley in the middle of hectic preparations for his second video shoot.’
      • ‘We are right in the middle of our annual business planning process which I have the lead for.’
      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.’
  • the middle of nowhere

    • informal

      the back of beyond, the backwoods, the wilds, the hinterland, a backwater
      the back country, the backblocks, the booay
      the backveld, the platteland
      the boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers
      woop woop, beyond the black stump
      View synonyms
    • informal A place that is very remote:

      ‘we got lost in the middle of nowhere’
      • ‘The next scene following is of a school bus filled with athletes, traveling (who would have guessed?) through the middle of nowhere, celebrating after a team victory.’
      • ‘I mean, it really is the middle of nowhere - especially coming from London.’
      • ‘So off I went to bus out to the middle of nowhere to pick up the textbooks - I have now been to every single possible location at which professors will order books or course packs.’
      • ‘Take her for a drive into the middle of nowhere and leave her there.’
      • ‘In the middle of nowhere, as long as you have a 56k internet connection, you can call from your laptop to any phone in the world for pennies.’
      • ‘We weave our way in and out of mangrove islands, and past sticks protruding oddly from what seems like the middle of nowhere.’
      • ‘As I got older, and could drive, I would take long day-trips to the middle of nowhere and just sit and stare at a tree or flower for an hour or so before driving back home.’
      • ‘In a similar spirit, you might not expect to find an impressive repository of underground art and comics in a place that most city folks would consider the middle of nowhere.’
      • ‘Then it occurred to me that my eyes could have been playing tricks on me, and that I could be in a bit of trouble if I'd summoned an ambulance and the police into the middle of nowhere on the whim of my sub-conscious.’
      • ‘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.’
      the back of beyond, the backwoods, the wilds, the hinterland, a backwater
      View synonyms
  • steer (or take) a middle course

    • Adopt a policy which avoids extremes.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The United States has generally been served best by toughminded leaders who steered a middle course.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

middle

/ˈmɪd(ə)l/