while

while
I UK [waɪl] / US / US [hwaɪl] conjunction ***
1) at a moment during the time that something is happening

Someone called while you were out.

While in Australia, she met and married Bert.

She had sprained her ankle while playing tennis.

2) at the same time that something is happening

While in prison he shared a cell with Ron Spicer.

Could you look after the children while I cook lunch?

3) used when comparing things, situations, or people and showing how they are different

While most children learn to read easily, some need extra help.

The south of the country grows richer, while the north grows poorer.

4) formal used for saying that although you accept that something is true, there are also doubts or facts that you cannot ignore

While I agree with you, I do not believe that your way is best.


II UK [waɪl] / US / US [hwaɪl] noun [singular] ***
a period of time
a while ago:

Her mother died a while ago.

for a while:

We haven't seen Barry for a while.

quite a while (= a fairly long time):

I've been waiting here quite a while.

a short/little while:

Couldn't you stay just a little while longer?

See:
once

III UK [waɪl] / US / US [hwaɪl] verb
Phrasal verbs:

English dictionary. 2014.

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Synonyms:

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 — 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 — 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 as — 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… …   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 I'm at it — ˌwhile you re/I m etc. ˈat it idiom used to suggest that sb could do sth while they are doing sth else • ‘I m just going to buy some postcards.’ ‘Can you get me some stamps while you re at it?’ Main entry: ↑whileidiom …   Useful english dictionary

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