among, amongst
1. Among is now roughly ten times more common than amongst. It is the oldest form, which gave rise to the by-forms amonges (14c, no longer in use) and among(e)st (16c). There is no demonstrable difference of meaning between the two forms, and the distribution is unclear except that amongst seems to be less common in AmE than in BrE. An older view, which Fowler (1926) followed, that amongst is commoner before a word beginning with a vowel, is not borne out by the evidence (the most common word following amongst, as with among, is in fact the). Examples: (among)

• The giants war among themselves —J. M. Coetzee, 1977

• There were a lot of young people among the temporary staff —Penelope Fitzgerald, 1980

• Britain also has the lowest level of welfare expenditure among the countries of the European Community —Times, 1985

• (amongst) They stood on the edges of the lamplight amongst the wattles by the creek —Peter Carey, 1988

• If a settled view is formed amongst voters that the additional money on the NHS has been wasted progressive politics will be in trouble for decades —Independent, 2007.

2. Among is much more often used than amongst in the expression among other things. This expression is strictly illogical, since among is inclusive and other is exclusive, but it is well established and usually causes no adverse comment. Perhaps it gets by on the coat-tails of the Latin equivalent inter alia, also self-contradictory but which few would venture to challenge.
3. For choice of among and between, see between 2.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • amongst — (prep.) mid 13c., amonges, from AMONG (Cf. among) with adverbial genitive. Parasitic t first attested 16c. (see AMIDST (Cf. amidst)). It is well established in the south of England, but not much heard in the north. By similar evolutions, alongst… …   Etymology dictionary

  • amongst — [ə muŋst′] prep. [ AMONG + adv. gen. s + unhistoric t] chiefly Brit. var. of AMONG …   English World dictionary

  • amongst — /əˈmʌŋst / (say uh mungst) preposition 1. among. –phrase 2. get amongst, a. (of a wild animal) to move into (a flock, herd, etc.) in search of prey, causing panic: a fox getting amongst the chooks. b. to engage in doing, acquiring, consuming, etc …  

  • Amongst — Among A*mong , Amongst A*mongst , prep. [OE. amongist, amonges, amonge, among, AS. onmang, ongemang, gemang, in a crowd or mixture. For the ending st see {Amidst}. See {Mingle}.] 1. Mixed or mingled; surrounded by. [1913 Webster] They heard, And… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • amongst — [[t]əmʌ̱ŋst[/t]] PREP Amongst means the same as among. [LITERARY] Syn: among …   English dictionary

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