While While, n. [AS. hw[=i]l; akin to OS. hw[=i]l, hw[=i]la, OFries. hw[=i]le, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. w[=i]la, hw[=i]la, hw[=i]l, Icel. hv[=i]la a bed, hv[=i]ld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. ? the proper time of season. [root]20. Cf. {Quiet}, {Whilom}.] 1. Space of time, or continued duration, esp. when short; a time; as, one while we thought him innocent. ``All this while.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

This mighty queen may no while endure. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

[Some guest that] hath outside his welcome while, And tells the jest without the smile. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

I will go forth and breathe the air a while. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster]

2. That which requires time; labor; pains. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Satan . . . cast him how he might quite her while. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

{At whiles}, at times; at intervals. [1913 Webster]

And so on us at whiles it falls, to claim Powers that we dread. --J. H. Newman. [1913 Webster]

{The while}, {The whiles}, in or during the time that; meantime; while. --Tennyson.

{Within a while}, in a short time; soon.

{Worth while}, worth the time which it requires; worth the time and pains; hence, worth the expense; as, it is not always worth while for a man to prosecute for small debts. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • while — while, whilst 1. Both forms are used in BrE, but whilst is not much used in AmE. There is no distinction in usage as regards meaning, although varying grammatical patterns are noted below. 2. The word is a conjunction, and its primary sense is… …   Modern English usage

  • While — and whilst are conjunctions whose primary meaning is during the time that . An example is::The days were hot while we were on vacation.:I read a magazine whilst I was waiting. While and whilst can nowadays legitimately be used in the contrastive… …   Wikipedia

  • while — [hwīl, wīl] n. [ME < OE hwil, akin to Ger weile < IE base * kweye , to rest > L quies, quiet] a period or space of time [a short while] conj. 1. during or throughout the time that [we waited while she dined] 2. at the same time that… …   English World dictionary

  • while — ► NOUN 1) (a while) a period of time. 2) (a while) for some time. 3) (the while) at the same time; meanwhile. 4) (the while) literary during the time that. ► …   English terms dictionary

  • While — While, conj. 1. During the time that; as long as; whilst; at the same time that; as, while I write, you sleep. While I have time and space. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Use your memory; you will sensibly experience a gradual improvement, while you… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • While — While, prep. Until; till. [Obs. or Prov. Eng. & Scot.] [1913 Webster] I may be conveyed into your chamber; I ll lie under your bed while midnight. Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • while — while, wile, beguile, fleet mean to pass time, especially leisure time, without being bored. One whiles or wiles away a space of time by causing it to be filled by something pleasant, diverting, or amusing {they can while away an hour very… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • while — [conj1] as long as although, at the same time, during, during the time, in the time, throughout the time, whilst; concept 799 while [conj2] even though albeit, although, howbeit, much as, though, when, whereas; concept 544 while [n] time interval …   New thesaurus

  • While — While, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Whiled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Whiling}.] To cause to pass away pleasantly or without irksomeness or disgust; to spend or pass; usually followed by away. [1913 Webster] The lovely lady whiled the hours away. Longfellow.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • While — While, v. i. To loiter. [R.] Spectator. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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