I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hwīl; akin to Old High German hwīla time, Latin quies rest, quiet Date: before 12th century 1. a period of time especially when short and marked by the occurrence of an action or a condition ; time <
stay here for a while
2. the time and effort used (as in the performance of an action) ; trouble <
worth your while
II. conjunction Date: 12th century 1. a. during the time that <
take a nap while I'm out
b. as long as <
while there's life there's hope
2. a. when on the other hand ; whereas <
easy for an expert, while it is dangerous for a novice
b. in spite of the fact that ; although <
while respected, he is not liked
3. similarly and at the same time that <
while the book will be welcomed by scholars, it will make an immediate appeal to the general reader — British Book News
III. preposition Date: 15th century dialect British until IV. transitive verb (whiled; whiling) Date: 1635 to cause to pass especially without boredom or in a pleasant manner — usually used with away <
while away the time

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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 — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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