Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Equally distant from extremes or limits; central: the middle point on a line.
  • adj. Being at neither one extreme nor the other; intermediate.
  • adj. Intervening between an earlier and a later period of time; being an intermediate part of a sequence or series: the middle years.
  • adj. Geology Of or relating to a division of geologic time between an earlier and a later division: the Middle Paleozoic.
  • adj. Of or relating to a stage in the development of a language or literature between earlier and later stages: Middle Swedish.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a verb form or voice in which the subject both performs and is affected by the action specified.
  • n. An area or a point equidistant between extremes; a center: the middle of a circle.
  • n. Something intermediate between extremes; a mean.
  • n. The interior portion: the middle of a chain.
  • n. The middle part of the human body; the waist.
  • n. Logic A middle term.
  • n. Grammar The middle voice.
  • n. Grammar A verb form in the middle voice.
  • transitive v. To place in the middle.
  • transitive v. Nautical To fold in the middle: middle the sail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A centre, midpoint
  • n. The part between the beginning and the end.
  • n. the middle stump
  • n. The central part of a human body.
  • adj. Being in the middle or in-between; as middle point, middle name, Middle English, Middle Ages, middle weight, etc.
  • adj. Central to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Equally distant from the extreme either of a number of things or of one thing; mean; medial
  • adj. Intermediate; intervening.
  • n. The point or part equally distant from the extremities or exterior limits, as of a line, a surface, or a solid; an intervening point or part in space, time, or order of series; the midst; central portion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Equally distant from the extremes or limits; mean; middling: as, the middle point of a line; the middle time of life.
  • Intervening; intermediate.
  • In grammar: Intermediale between active and passive: applied to a body of verb-forms of which the office is more or less distinctly reflexive, or denotes the subject as acting on or for or with reference to itself, often answering to an English intransitive verb: as, middle voice, middle ending, middle tense.
  • Intermediate between smooth (unaspirated) and rough (aspirated): as, a middle (medial) mute. See mute, n
  • Nautical, a shallow place, as a bank or bar.
  • n. The point or part equally distant from the extremities, limits, of extremes; a mean.
  • n. Specifically, the middle part of the human body; the waist.
  • n. An intervening point or part in space, time, or arrangement; something intermediate.
  • n. In logic, same as middle term.
  • n. In grammar, same as middle voice. See I., 3.
  • n. Synonyms Center, Midst, Middle. Center is a precise word, ordinarily applied to circular, globular, or regular bodies: as, the center of a circle, globe, field; but it is used wherever a similar exactness appears to exist: as, the center of a crowd. Midst regards the person or thing as enveloped or surrounded on all sides, especially by that which is close upon him or it, thick or dense: as, in the midst of the forest, the waves, troubles, one's thoughts. Except as thus modified by the idea of envelopment or close environment, the old idea of midst as meaning the middle point (see Gen. i. 6; Josh. vii. 23; 1 Ki. xxii. 35) is quite obsolete. Midst is very often used abstractly or figuratively, center rarely, middle never. Middle is often applied to extent in only-one direction: as, the middle of the street, of a block of houses, of a string; it is often less precise than center: compare the center and the middle of a room.
  • To set or place in the middle. Specifically
  • In foot-ball, to kick or drive (the ball) into the middle, so that it may be kicked through the goal.
  • To balance or compromise.
  • To ascertain or mark the middle of (as of a line), by doubling or otherwise; fold in the middle; double, as a rope.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the middle area of the human torso (usually in front)
  • adj. being neither at the beginning nor at the end in a series
  • n. an area that is approximately central within some larger region
  • n. an intermediate part or section
  • adj. between an earlier and a later period of time
  • adj. of a stage in the development of a language or literature between earlier and later stages
  • adj. equally distant from the extremes
  • v. put in the middle
  • n. time between the beginning and the end of a temporal period

Etymologies

Middle English middel, from Old English; see medhyo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English middel, from Old English middel, middle ("middle, centre, waist"), from Proto-Germanic *midjilan, *medjilan (“middle”), a diminutive of Proto-Germanic *midjō, *medjō (“middle, midst”) (cf. *midjaz (“mid, middle”, adjective)), from Proto-Indo-European *medhy- (“middle, midst”), cf. *médʰyos (“between, in the middle, middle”). Cognate with West Frisian middel, Dutch middel, German mittel ("middle", adjective), German Mittel ("middle, means", noun), Danish middel ("means, agent, medicine"). Related also to Swedish medel ("means, medium"), Icelandic meðal ("means, medicine"). See also mid. (Wiktionary)

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