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I often use the words amid/amidst instead of among/amongst and instead of between or surrounded by, but I could never understand it's meaning "in the middle of" as Cambridge dictionary and Oxford dictionary tell us that it has this meaning.

Examples that they provide still carry the meanings of "among/surrounded by".

  • Our dream home, set amid magnificent rolling countryside.
  • On the floor, amid mounds of books, were two small envelopes.

I also know that amid/amidst have meanings "during/with the accompaniment of/In an atmosphere or against a background of/through" but I almost never hear this word used with those meaning.

  • What's the actual question? – D. Nelson Dec 8 '16 at 11:13
  • What is the strange meaning "in the middle of" that Amid and Amidst have? – SovereignSun Dec 8 '16 at 11:40
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    "in the middle of" is essentially a synonym of "surrounded by". In your two example sentences, "amid" is interchangeable with "among" (both sentences) or "surrounded by" (actually "surrounded by" would replace the verb phrase "set amid" in sentence 1) or "in the middle of" (both sentences). – D. Nelson Dec 8 '16 at 11:48
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(mostly copied from my comment below the question)

"in the middle of" in this sense is essentially a synonym of "surrounded by". In your two example sentences, "amid" is interchangeable with "among" (both sentences) or "surrounded by" (actually "surrounded by" would replace the verb phrase "set amid" in sentence 1) or "in the middle of" (both sentences).

An alternative form of "in the middle of" is "in the midst of". The link also gives a couple of other instances where you can use the idiom.

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