Difference Wiki

Amid vs. Amidst: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 17, 2023
Amid and amidst both mean "in the middle of" or "surrounded by," with "amidst" being a more poetic or formal variant of "amid."

Key Differences

"Amid" is a preposition that signifies being in the middle or surrounded by something. "Amidst," on the other hand, carries the same meaning but is often considered a more poetic or archaic version of the word.
While "amid" is commonly used in everyday speech and writing, "amidst" is found in more literary contexts or when a more formal tone is desired.
Both "amid" and "amidst" are used to show a position or situation surrounded by something else. However, "amid" is more concise, whereas "amidst" has an old-world charm to it.
You can use "amid" and "amidst" interchangeably in most cases without changing the meaning. That being said, your choice between them might be influenced by the tone or style you aim to achieve.
If one is aiming for modern, concise language, "amid" would be the preferred choice. However, if the intent is to convey a sense of antiquity or poetic nuance, "amidst" would be more fitting.

Comparison Chart


In the middle of
In the middle of

Usage Frequency

More common
Less common




Old English
Old English with '-st' suffix

Endings in Writing

Often used without 'st'
Often has 'st' ending

Amid and Amidst Definitions


Surrounded by.
He found peace amid chaos.


In the middle of.
The cottage stands amidst the woods.


In the center of.
The ball is amid the toys.


Surrounded by.
He wrote the novel amidst numerous distractions.


With the presence of.
She stood amid a crowd of supporters.


During the happening of.
Amidst the celebrations, they announced their engagement.


During the occurrence of.
Amid the applause, she took a bow.


With many things around.
The secret garden was hidden amidst tall grasses.


She was amid friends and family at the party.


She felt safe amidst her loved ones.


Surrounded by; in the middle of.


Variant of amid.


In the middle of; in the center of; surrounded by.


In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.


See Amidst.


In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.
But rather famish them amid their plenty.
The seraph Abdiel, faithful found;Among the faithless faithful only he,
From amidst them forth he passed,
Those squalid cabins and uncleared woods amidst which he was born.


Which word is more commonly used in American English?

"Amid" is more commonly used than "amidst" in American English.

Is "amidst" more formal than "amid"?

Yes, "amidst" is often considered more poetic or formal than "amid."

Is "amidst" archaic?

While not completely archaic, "amidst" is less commonly used and has an old-world charm.

Which word is shorter?

"Amid" is shorter than "amidst."

Do "amid" and "amidst" have any verb forms?

No, both are prepositions and don't have verb forms.

Is "amidst" a combination of "amid" and "whilst"?

No, "amidst" is not a combination of those words, though it might seem so.

Can "amid" or "amidst" be used to indicate a temporal situation?

While primarily spatial, they can sometimes indicate a temporal context, like "amid celebrations."

Is "amidst" British English?

While "amidst" can be found in British English, it's not exclusive to it and is used in other forms of English as well.

Should I always use "amid" to sound modern?

Not necessarily, but "amid" is more concise and commonly used in modern contexts.

Are there any major publications or style guides that prefer one word over the other?

Most style guides don't mandate a strict preference, but they might note that "amid" is more common and concise in modern writing.

Are "amid" and "amidst" synonyms?

Yes, both words essentially mean "in the middle of" or "surrounded by."

Can "amid" and "amidst" be used interchangeably?

In most contexts, they can be, though the choice might be influenced by the desired tone or style.

Is there a difference in meaning between the two words?

There's no significant difference in meaning. Both convey the idea of being surrounded by or in the middle of something.

Are there other words similar to "amid" and "amidst"?

Yes, words like "among" and "between" can have similar meanings in certain contexts.

Can "amidst" be used in poetry?

Yes, "amidst" is often used in poetry due to its poetic nuance.

Do both words function as prepositions?

Yes, both "amid" and "amidst" function as prepositions.

Do the words have different origins?

Both originate from Old English, but "amidst" has the '-st' suffix added.

Can "amid" be used in formal writing?

Yes, "amid" can be used in both formal and informal contexts.

Is it incorrect to use "amidst" in everyday speech?

No, but it might sound more formal or old-fashioned to some listeners.

Are there situations where one should avoid using "amid" or "amidst"?

Both words are grammatically correct, but the choice should be based on the desired tone or context.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons