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Is there a single word that can be used instead of "the space in between"? I am looking for something general.

Few words I thought of are period, interspace, mezzanine.

For example:

The space in between fear and love is filled with uncertainty.

The space in between birth and death is life.

The space in between knowing and believing is something.

I like the word mezzanine but I am not sure if it fits since by definition it relates to architecture. Interspace, on the other hand, sounds like something related to science fiction. Period is about time.

An example of how I would like to use it:

[Word] of fear and love is filled with uncertainty. [The mezzanine] of fear and love is filled with uncertainty. [The interspace] of fear and love is filled with uncertainty.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • 4
    Gap, perhaps? Please see the tag info and the checklist towards the end. – Andrew Leach Jan 6 '17 at 19:49
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    You can drop in - just between is enough, in these examples. – Drew Jan 6 '17 at 20:32
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    The word, "interval," is a direct translation from Latin of "space between the walls." – Airymouse Jan 6 '17 at 21:35
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    Just "between"? "Between fear and love, there's uncertainty." "Between birth and death there's life." Or "betwixt" even. – Nick Matteo Jan 6 '17 at 22:17
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    I sounds poetic: Life is the mezzanine between birth and death. – GEdgar Jan 7 '17 at 0:39

10 Answers 10

24

Interstice:

a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things. Eg, interstices of a wall

  • 4
    Interstice is at least as obscure as lacuna, but without the poetry. – KRyan Jan 7 '17 at 0:22
  • Interstices is the first word that came to my mind. I somehow have trouble "hearing" the singular form in my head and want to use it in the plural even when it's a single space. Perhaps this is because it's so often used to describe gaps between things that come in groups, such as bricks in a wall, cells, etc. – Katherine Lockwood Jan 7 '17 at 0:56
  • @KatherineLockwood - Yeah, it's almost always used in plural form, though I do hear/read the singular on rare occasions. – Hot Licks Jan 7 '17 at 1:09
  • I love both lacuna and interstice. Lacuna has a nice ring to it and the meaning has no positive or negative connotation: a gap or space, esp in a book or manuscript. Interstice, on the other hand, emphasizes more in-betweenness and implies small space. I am divided which one to choose. If it is according to the rules of the site can the two answers be combined? – user2840286 Jan 7 '17 at 3:56
  • I would say that “especially between closely spaced things” is definitely part of my idea of interstice, and that it is to do with structures, so I do not agree with this suggestion. – PJTraill Jan 8 '17 at 17:01
18

I suggest gap. It needs to be paired with between.

The gap between fear and love is filled with uncertainty.

However, space, as used in your question, is at least as good.

  • 2
    Mind the space in between. – ringo Jan 6 '17 at 23:03
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They're somewhat poetic but "rift" or "void" have a visual quality to them that may help illustrate the point.

  • 1
    VOID is definitely the word that you are looking for. – Hugo Jan 6 '17 at 20:54
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    Trouble is, 'void' is seen as an empty space. – Tim Jan 7 '17 at 9:04
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Lacuna is my favorite.

a blank space or a missing part

  • Yeah I liked lacuna as well, it was my first thought. But it's a bit obscure. – Andrew Jan 6 '17 at 23:54
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    Lacunas are often around the periphery. In-betweeness is missing. – Phil Sweet Jan 7 '17 at 1:04
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    @PhilSweet Lacunae are the in-between that's missing. Or is that what you were trying to say? – Samuel Jan 7 '17 at 1:13
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    This is nice but I'm not sure it works with the examples with what I assume is the intended meaning — it's explicitly a lack of something, – mattdm Jan 8 '17 at 15:57
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Abyss, hollow, cavity, valley, interval, lacuna, gulf, silence, caesura, division, ravine, vacuum ... it all depends on what image you wish to convey, really.

3

Span would be a noun that meets your requirement.

the full extent, stretch, or reach of anything (Dictionary.com)

But I don't see how you can introduce it without the using a words like "between" or "from/to":

The span from birth to death is life.

The span between faith and knowing is curiosity. (Surely that's better than "something")

The span from fear to love is reconciliation. (I don't know where you came up with "uncertainty":))

2

Keeping with your OP, just "Between" as in:

  • between fear and love is uncertainty.
  • between birth and death is life.
  • between knowing and believing is something.

Not as poetic, but this isn't a poetry site.

interstitial is a space between things, but doesn't flow with your OP.

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    “Not a poetry site” – I don’t see why we shouldn’t be open to requests for an appropriate word for a given context, which could indeed be poetry. But this question does not specify that, and I find this suggestion works better than many of the higher-voted answers. – PJTraill Jan 8 '17 at 16:38
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I came across another word that can be used. It is liminal often times liminal space:

of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional "in the liminal state between life and death" — Deborah Jowitt

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    Surely liminal means on the (or pertaining to a) threshold? That is certainly what Wiktionary thinks. – PJTraill Jan 8 '17 at 17:04
1

There are many possibilities for space, and even specifically space between things, but I can't think of any nouns that work nicely without a preposition as well — either "between" or "of" or something. However, in your example of how you want to use the word, you do use "of", so maybe that's okay.

Therefore, I have a suggestion you almost have yourself. Interspace is a word, but I agree that it's not very pretty. Mezzanine is prettier but does make me think "mall food court". But, there's also intermezzo — this is a word from the arts, and has a nice ring as a metaphor. From Merriam-Webster:

1 : a short light entr'acte

2 a: a movement coming between the major sections of an extended musical work (as an opera) b : a short independent instrumental composition

3 : a usually brief interlude or diversion

I had to look up entr'acte — that's "a dance, piece of music, or interlude performed between two acts of a play", or just the interval itself.

So, in any of these senses, this works very well if your intent is to imply that the important parts are off the edges, and this is just a temporary thing. For example:

  • "Life is the intermezzo between birth and death; eternal reality is before and after."

  • "He was in the intermezzo between knowledge and belief — he'd heard the news, but it hadn't really sunk in".

  • "Act One was fear, and I hope Act Two will be love, but now, we are in a uncertain intermezzo."

  • Intermezzo only works well if there is a suggestion of a transition, and while that presumably applies to life–death it is not clear if he means it in that way in fear–love or knowing–believing. Intermezzo also carries a strong suggestion of a temporary state of affairs, rather than something to which one might return. – PJTraill Jan 8 '17 at 17:09
  • @PJTraill Agreed on all points. – mattdm Jan 8 '17 at 17:11
0

Interval. "time or space between" from the Latin, inter - between and vallum - a rampart. It will sound archaic but it is the right word according for the stated need.

protected by MetaEd Jan 13 '17 at 21:21

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