[mid-l] /ˈmɪd l/

equally distant from the extremes or outer limits; central:
the middle point of a line; the middle singer in a trio.
intermediate or intervening:
the middle distance.
medium or average:
a man of middle size.
(initial capital letter) (in the history of a language) intermediate between periods classified as Old and New or Modern:
Middle English.
Grammar. (in some languages) noting a voice of verb inflection in which the subject is represented as acting on or for itself, in contrast to the active voice in which the subject acts, and the passive voice in which the subject is acted upon, as in Greek, egrapsámēn “I wrote for myself,” égrapsa “I wrote,” egráphēn “I was written.”.
(often initial capital letter) Stratigraphy. noting the division intermediate between the upper and lower divisions of a period, system, or the like:
the Middle Devonian.
the point, part, position, etc., equidistant from extremes or limits.
the central part of the human body, especially the waist:
He gave him a punch in the middle.
something intermediate; mean.
(in farming) the ground between two rows of plants.
verb (used with or without object), middled, middling.
Chiefly Nautical. to fold in half.
equally distant from the ends or periphery of something; central
intermediate in status, situation, etc
located between the early and late parts of a series, time sequence, etc
not extreme, esp in size; medium
(esp in Greek and Sanskrit grammar) denoting a voice of verbs expressing reciprocal or reflexive action Compare active (sense 5), passive (sense 5)
(usually capital) (of a language) intermediate between the earliest and the modern forms: Middle English
an area or point equal in distance from the ends or periphery or in time between the early and late parts
an intermediate part or section, such as the waist
(grammar) the middle voice
(logic) See middle term
the ground between rows of growing plants
a discursive article in a journal, placed between the leading articles and the book reviews
(cricket) a position on the batting creases in alignment with the middle stumps on which a batsman may take guard
verb (transitive)
to place in the middle
(nautical) to fold in two
(football) to return (the ball) from the wing to midfield
(cricket) to hit (the ball) with the middle of the bat

Old English middel, from West Germanic *middila (cf. Old Frisian middel, Old Saxon middil, Middle Low German, Dutch middel, Old High German mittil, German mittel), from Proto-Germanic *medjaz (see mid). Middle name attested from 1815; as “one’s outstanding characteristic,” colloquial, from 1911, American English.

According to Mr. H.A. Hamilton, in his “Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth,” the practice of giving children two Christian names was unknown in England before the period of the Stuarts, was rarely adopted down to the time of the Revolution, and never became common until after the Hanoverian family was seated on the throne. “In looking through so many volumes of county records,” he says, “I have, of course, seen many thousands and tens of thousands of proper names, belonging to men of all ranks and degrees,–to noblemen, justices, jurymen, witnesses, sureties, innkeepers, hawkers, paupers, vagrants, criminals, and others,–and in no single instance, down to the end of the reign of Anne, have I noticed any person bearing more than one Christian name ….” [Walsh]

Middle school attested from 1838, originally “middle-class school, school for middle-class children;” the sense in reference to a school for grades between elementary and high school is from 1960. Middle management is 1957. Middle-of-the-road in the figurative sense is attested from 1894; edges of a dirt road can be washed out and thus less safe. Middle finger so called from c.1000.


Old English middel, from middle (adj.).


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