- 1A period of time: we chatted for a while she retired a little while agoMore example sentences
- At this time kidneys were taken a little while after the donor's heart had stopped and death had been pronounced.
- It is safe to assume that the word had been around for a while before 1611.
- There were two bastards in the Jones household for a while - but only one of them was truly Jenny's.
- 1.1 (a while) For some time: can I keep it a while?More example sentences
- Again the industry cooled its heels a while and then brought back the same plan.
conjunctionBack to top
- 1During the time that; at the same time as: nothing much changed while he was awayMore example sentences
- Now I'm not going to be able to think of anything else but her ears while watching the movie.
- The thing that stayed with me while watching the movie was the sense of dread that something was going to happen.
- The victims were attacked while watching a cricket match between India and Pakistan on television.
- 2Whereas (indicating a contrast): one person wants out, while the other wants the relationship to continueMore example sentences
- Danny Slatter has signed a one-year contract, while Russell Edwards has been released.
- Some sought to contradict him, while others tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore his prying.
- Spain is increasing the size of its fishing fleet while ours is contracting.
- 2.1In spite of the fact that; although: while I wouldn’t recommend a night-time visit, by day the area is full of interestMore example sentences
- In fact, while they are labeled as such, they are not really fantasy stories in the genre sense.
- In fact, while the experiment was, of necessity, painful, it was far from worthless.
- The fact remains that, while horses may not die of foot-and-mouth, they do carry the disease.
adverbBack to top
- During which: the period while the animal remains aliveMore example sentences
- It is not just for a relatively short period while physical defects to the property are made good.
- There were no words confining the cover to a period while actual repairs were taking place.
- There's a moment's freezing silence while her eyebrows contract like thunder.
verb[with object] (while something away) Back to top
- Pass time in a leisurely manner: a diversion to while away the long afternoonsMore example sentences
- The English Tea House & Restaurant is a sublime slice of colonial luxury; indeed, most visitors wind up whiling the afternoon away within its convivial surroundings rather than just stopping for lunch.
- When not out with Sanura, Kira spent most of her time in her room and whiled the time away by expressing her obsession through her art.
- People sat under parasols outside the cafes, whiling the day away.
prepositionNorthern English Back to top
worth while (or worth one's while)
- Worth the time or effort spent.More example sentences
- Prizes will be up for grabs among the entrants so lots of imagination, humour and effort could be well worth your while.
- Today, discontent tended to make me think it's all a hollow shell, that perhaps all that effort, all that sacrifice, were not worth my while.
- You might not agree with everything there, but hopefully you'll find it all provocative, informative, and generally worth your while.
Old English hwīl 'period of time', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wijl, German Weile; the conjunction is an abbreviation of Old English thā hwīle the 'the while that'.