Among vs Amongst | Definition & Examples

Among and amongst are different spellings of the same word. Both are prepositions that mean “surrounded by or included within a group of people or things.”

It is more common to hear “amongst” in British English than in American English. However, “among” is the more popular variant in both dialects. Deciding which word to use is a matter of style and formality. Although “amongst” is often considered the more formal of the two, it can seem out of place when used in American English, whether in writing or conversation.

Examples: Among in a sentence Examples: Amongst in a sentence
I found a rare flower hidden among the bushes. Amongst the numerous proposals, only one innovative idea stood out to us.
She spotted a bird nestled among the branches. During the excavation, a rare artifact was found buried amongst the rubble.
He found a beautiful antique book among all the garbage. He found a piece of Renaissance art hidden amongst the lesser-known works.

Among definition

“Among” has several uses, but all pertain to being “surrounded by or in the company of a group of people or things.” For example, someone who walks around on a college campus can find themselves among hundreds of students.

American English speakers almost exclusively use “among,” whether in formal or informal settings. Even so, it’s possible to come across “amongst” in professional and academic writing, depending on the writer’s stylistic preference.

Examples: Among in a sentence
We were among hundreds of race participants.

The kids were among the students who were picked to go on the trip.

I found myself lying among the daisies on a hot summer day.

Note
When dividing or choosing something and three or more individuals or things are involved, the preferred word to use is “among.” “Between” is typically used when only two separate and distinct individuals or entities are involved, although English allows for some flexibility depending on the context.

  • The funds were distributed equally among all the defendants.
  • The funds were distributed equally between all the defendants.

Amongst definition

“Amongst” is a variation of the word “among” and is used in the same manner to mean “surrounded by or in the middle of a group of people or things.”

Like “among,” “amongst” also means “to be in the company or associated with a class of people or things.” For instance, someone could be known amongst poets to be incredibly lyrical.

Despite “amongst” sounding more archaic, “among” is the older word, dating back to Old English (circa 1000 CE), while “amongst” can be traced back to Middle English (circa 1200 CE).

Examples: Amongst in a sentence
She discovered a vintage watch amongst the myriad items in the store.

He held a reputation amongst his peers as an esteemed debater.

The inheritance was distributed evenly amongst the five heirs.

Frequently asked questions about among vs Amongst

What does among others mean?

“Among others” is a phrase that is used to indicate that not all items or individuals of a larger group are being specifically mentioned (e.g., “There were many teachers, counselors, and students, among others”).

“Among other things” can also be used in the same manner (e.g., “We studied science, math, and art, among other things”).

Is it among others or amongst others?

Both “among others” and “amongst others” are acceptable, but it should be noted that “among” is the more popular variant in both American and British English. In American English, “amongst” can be considered overly formal or even pompous.

Is it okay to use amongst?

Yes, it is acceptable to use the word “amongst,” especially when using British English. However, because it is less common in American English, some may consider it out of place or overly formal.

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Gina Rancaño, BA

Gina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as a certificate in professional and public writing from Florida International University. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading.