Definitions for whileʰwaɪl, waɪl

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word while

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

whileʰwaɪl, waɪl(n.; conj.; prep.; v.)whiled, whil•ing.

  1. (n.)an interval of time:

    a long while ago.

  2. (conj.)during or in the time that:

    He ate ice cream while he waited.

    Category: Function Word

  3. throughout the time that; as long as.

    Category: Function Word

  4. even though; although:

    While they are related, they don't get along.

    Category: Function Word

  5. at the same time that:

    She exercises while he grows fat.

    Category: Function Word

  6. (prep.)Archaic. until.

  7. (v.t.)to cause (time) to pass, esp. in some pleasant manner:

    to while away the hours.

Idioms for while:

  1. worth one's while, worth one's time, trouble, or expense.

    Category: Idiom

Origin of while:

bef. 900; ME; OE hwīl, c. OS, OHG hwīla, Go hweila while, time, ON hvīla place of rest

Princeton's WordNet

  1. while, piece, spell, patch(noun)

    a period of indeterminate length (usually short) marked by some action or condition

    "he was here for a little while"; "I need to rest for a piece"; "a spell of good weather"; "a patch of bad weather"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. while(conjunction)ʰwaɪl, waɪl

    during or at the same time as

    She reads the newspaper while eating breakfast.; While they were on vacation their car was stolen.

  2. whileʰwaɪl, waɪl

    indicates a difference

    While the first test was really hard, the second was really easy.

  3. whileʰwaɪl, waɪl


    While caring for elderly parents can be stressful, it is rewarding too.

  4. while(noun)ʰwaɪl, waɪl

    a period of time

    We had to wait a while.

  5. whileʰwaɪl, waɪl

    a long time

    It was a good while before he came out again.

  6. whileʰwaɪl, waɪl

    a short period of time

    Dad worked in Cairo for a little while.


  1. while(Noun)

    A certain duration of time, a period of time.

    He lectured for quite a long while.

  2. while(Verb)

    To pass (time) idly.

  3. while(Conjunction)

    During the same time that.

    He was sleeping while I was singing.

  4. while(Conjunction)


    This case, while interesting, is a bit frustrating.

  5. while(Conjunction)


  6. Origin: hwil. Cognate with wil.

Webster Dictionary

  1. While(noun)

    space of time, or continued duration, esp. when short; a time; as, one while we thought him innocent

  2. While(noun)

    that which requires time; labor; pains

  3. While(verb)

    to cause to pass away pleasantly or without irksomeness or disgust; to spend or pass; -- usually followed by away

  4. While(verb)

    to loiter

  5. While

    during the time that; as long as; whilst; at the same time that; as, while I write, you sleep

  6. While

    hence, under which circumstances; in which case; though; whereas

  7. While

    until; till


  1. While

    "While" is a word in the English language that functions both as a noun and as a subordinating conjunction. Its meaning varies largely based on its intended function, position in the phrase and even the writer or speaker's regional dialect. As a conjunction, it is synonymous with the word "whilst", a form often considered archaic in American and Canadian English, as well as in some style guides on both sides of the Atlantic.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'while' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #149

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'while' in Written Corpus Frequency: #554

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'while' in Nouns Frequency: #744

Translations for while

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


during the time that

I saw him while I was out walking.

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