While amidst is more commonly used in the literary sense in a sentence, amid is widely used in common parlance. The uses of the words in the various dictions also stem from this seminal variance between the two terms.
Amidst was popularized in the Middle Ages and still holds sway among the British English speaking populace.
Amid is the preferred term of usage among the American speakers and is invoked upon fairly commonly in everyday interactional conversations. The popularity of the informal version is much more than the formal literary term amidst.
- Amid and amidst are prepositions that indicate being surrounded by or in the middle of something.
- Amid is more commonly used in contemporary English and is interchangeable with amidst in most cases; amidst is considered more archaic or formal and is often used in literary or poetic contexts.
- Both words can be used interchangeably, but amid is preferred in American English, while amidst is more common in British English.
Amid vs Amidst
The difference between amid and amidst is stylistic. Both these words share similar meanings of being ‘surrounded by’ or ‘in the middle of’. The difference between the words arises in terms of their usage.
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|Parameters of Comparison||Amid||Amidst|
|Stylistic usage||Amid is widely used in the common parlance.||Amidst is commonly used in the literary sense in sentences.|
|Preferred Expression In||Used more frequently in American English.||Used more frequently in British English.|
|Antiquity of the Term||Amid is not an archaic term.||Amidst is considered an archaic and outdated term.|
|Formality of Usage||Informal usage of the term.||Reserved for more formal usages.|
|Popularity||More popular in the Middle Ages among poets, writers and commoners alike.||Popular among the current English speaking world populace.|
What is Amid?
As a preposition, amid connotes the relationship between two words. The meaning of the word is much too similar to its antiquated counterpart- amidst. Amid means ‘to be among’ or ‘in the middle of’ or ‘surrounded by’.
It can be used to connote something happening ‘in the middle of’ another event. Similarly, the word can also be used to connote an object, event or person being ‘surrounded by’ something.
Amidst and among are used as common synonyms of the term. The term originated in British English from the word ‘on middan’. If something is happening ‘amid’ occurrences of other varieties, it is happening in the middle of these other things.
Amid is the informal variant of amidst and is more commonly used in daily exchanges. With the turn of the century, the term has gained more popularity, overshadowing its archaic counterpart.
Some examples of sentences that commonly employ the term:
- He entered the room amid a roaring sound of applause.
- The lone house stood amid the cluster of pine trees.
- The demonstration continued amid the imminent fear of retribution.
- The chief guest arrived amid the on-going festivities.
What is Amidst?
As a signature term of preference in old British English, amidst has the same meaning as amid. It connotes being ‘surrounded by’ or ‘in the middle of’ or ‘in the midst’.
The term is preferred in the formal literary context of poetry and prose writing. It was used in common parlance during the Middle Ages but has since lost its significance.
The term is now considered archaic and its synonyms like amid are more commonly used in everyday conversational interactions as well as writing. The formality attached to the term deters one from using it in common linguistic interactions. However, it is still fairly popular among British speakers.
Some examples of sentences that commonly employ the term:
- The minister entered the area amidst taut security.
- The celebration began amidst the cheering crowd of supporters.
- The moon shone bright amidst a few stray clouds.
- She was the most intellectually proficient student amidst her peer group.
Main Differences Between Amid and Amidst
- The first main difference between the two widely used English terms is in terms of their stylistic usage. While amidst is used extensively in English literary works, amid is used in common parlance. Amidst is commonly seen in works of literature like novels and poetry. Amid -as the non-formal version- is commonly used in everyday speech and writing.
- Another significant difference between the terms is in terms of their usage in the British and American dictions. While amid is used in the American linguistic system much more commonly, amidst is the more popular term of usage among the British populace.
- Amidst is sometimes also considered to be an archaic term, more commonly used in the Middle Ages. However, amid is not an archaic word and is used in common, everyday exchanges.
- Amidst is classified as a more formal term than amid. In a formal context, usage of the term amidst may be more appropriate than amid. Amid is more suited for informal usage. The everyday informal environment is conducive for the use of the term amid rather than amidst, as the latter evokes a literary bent of speech.
- Amidst was more popular in the Middle Ages among writers, poets and commoners alike. While amid is more popular today among the diverse English speaking global population. The use of the word amidst has significantly declined in the recent years, as its informal synonym gained clout.
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.