The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Amidst \A*midst"\, Amid \A*mid"\, prep. [OE. amidde, amiddes, on
midden, AS. on middan, in the middle, fr. midde the middle.
The s is an adverbial ending, originally marking the
genitive; the t is a later addition, as in whilst, amongst,
alongst. See Mid.]
In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by;
among. "This fair tree amidst the garden." "Unseen amid the
throng." "Amidst thick clouds." --Milton. "Amidst
acclamations." "Amidst the splendor and festivity of a
But rather famish them amid their plenty. --Shak.
Syn: Amidst, Among.
Usage: These words differ to some extent from each other, as
will be seen from their etymology. Amidst denotes in
the midst or middle of, and hence surrounded by; as,
this work was written amidst many interruptions. Among
denotes a mingling or intermixing with distinct or
separable objects; as, "He fell among thieves."
"Blessed art thou among women." Hence, we say, among
the moderns, among the ancients, among the thickest of
trees, among these considerations, among the reasons I
have to offer. Amid and amidst are commonly used when
the idea of separate or distinguishable objects is not
prominent. Hence, we say, they kept on amidst the
storm, amidst the gloom, he was sinking amidst the
waves, he persevered amidst many difficulties; in none
of which cases could among be used. In like manner,
Milton speaks of Abdiel,
The seraph Abdiel, faithful found;
Among the faithless faithful only he,
[1913 Webster] because he was then considered as one
of the angels. But when the poet adds,
From amidst them forth he passed,
[1913 Webster] we have rather the idea of the angels
as a collective body.
Those squalid cabins and uncleared woods amidst
which he was born. --Macaulay.