What does while mean?

Definitions for while
ʰwaɪl, waɪlwhile

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word while.

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"

Wiktionary

  1. while(Noun)

    A certain duration of time, a period of time.

    He lectured for quite a long while.

    Etymology: hwil. Cognate with wil.

  2. while(Verb)

    To pass (time) idly.

    Etymology: hwil. Cognate with wil.

  3. while(Conjunction)

    During the same time that.

    He was sleeping while I was singing.

    Etymology: hwil. Cognate with wil.

  4. while(Conjunction)

    although

    This case, while interesting, is a bit frustrating.

    Etymology: hwil. Cognate with wil.

  5. while(Conjunction)

    until

    Etymology: 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

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  2. While(noun)

    that which requires time; labor; pains

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  3. While(verb)

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

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  4. While(verb)

    to loiter

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  5. While

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

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  6. While

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

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

  7. While

    until; till

    Etymology: [AS. hwl; akin to OS. hwl, hwla, OFries. hwle, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. wla, hwla, hwl, Icel. hvla a bed, hvld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. the proper time of season. 20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.]

Freebase

  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. While

    hwīl, n. a space of time: trouble spent.—adv. during the time that: at the same time that, as long as.—v.t. to cause to pass without irksomeness (with away).—conjs. While, Whilst, as long as: at the same time that: (Shak.) until; Whiles (B.), while, at the same time that.—adv. (Scot.) at times (orig. gen. of A.S. hwíl).—advs. Whī′lom, Whī′lome (Milt.), formerly, once (orig. dat. pl. of A.S. hwíl, time).—Every once in a while, now and then; The while (Shak.), in the meantime; The whilst (Shak.), while: in the meantime; Worth while, worth the trouble and time taken. [A.S. hwíl; Goth. hweila, Ger. weile.]

Editors Contribution

  1. while

    A period of known time.

    While at the shop we saw some new cheese we thought we'd try.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 19, 2020  

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

How to pronounce while?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

How to say while in sign language?

  1. while

Numerology

  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of while in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of while in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of while in a Sentence

  1. Joe Hayes:

    The likelihood of the negative trend in output being stymied any time soon appears slim, with demand for goods from both domestic and international sources waning further, asian goods producers face headwinds from slowing growth in Europe and China, while global trade risks are yet to be mitigated by a breakthrough in US-Sino relations.

  2. Paul Blackman:

    I have been in law enforcement all of my adult life, and this horrific incident shocks and angers me more than anything I have encountered in my career, while we still don't know what drove the suspect to commit this heinous act, there is no excuse that can justify the cold-blooded murder of multiple victims.

  3. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker:

    I believe Bill Barr when he says the President tweeting about cases is not helpful for him running the Department of Justice and administering justice, i was lucky that I didn't have the President tweeting about cases, except for the Mueller investigation while I was acting attorney general.

  4. Carly Fiorina:

    It's still different for women, it's only a woman whose appearance would be talked about while running for president -- never a man. And that's what women understand.

  5. Rule of Life:

    It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught, as men take diseases, one from another; therefore, let all take heed as to the society in which they mingle, for in a little while they will be like it.

Images & Illustrations of while

  1. whilewhilewhilewhilewhile

Popularity rank by frequency of use

while#1#308#10000

Translations for while

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    the act of making a noisy disturbance
    • A. abase
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    • C. abide
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