while

[hwahyl, wahyl]
noun
1.
a period or interval of time: to wait a long while; He arrived a short while ago.
2.
Archaic. a particular time or occasion.
conjunction
3.
during or in the time that.
4.
throughout the time that; as long as.
5.
even though; although: While she appreciated the honor, she could not accept the position.
6.
at the same time that (showing an analogous or corresponding action): The floor was strewn with books, while magazines covered the tables.
preposition
7.
Archaic. until.
verb (used with object), whiled, whiling.
8.
to cause (time) to pass, especially in some easy or pleasant manner (usually followed by away ).
Idioms
9.
all the while, at or during this time; all along: She realized all the while that the cake would fall.
10.
worth one's while, worth one's time, trouble, or expense: The art exhibition that opened yesterday isn't worth your while.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English; Old English hwīl; cognate with Dutch wijl, German weile, Old Norse hvīla, Gothic hweila

while, wile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
while (waɪl)
 
conj
1.  (subordinating) at the same time that: please light the fire while I'm cooking
2.  (subordinating) all the time that: I stay inside while it's raining
3.  (subordinating) in spite of the fact that: while I agree about his brilliance I still think he's rude
4.  (coordinating) whereas; and in contrast: flats are expensive, while houses are cheap
5.  (subordinating; used with a gerund) during the activity of: while walking I often whistle
 
prep, —conj
6.  dialect (Scot), (Northern English) another word for until : you'll have to wait while Monday for these sheets; you'll never make any progress while you listen to me
 
n
7.  (usually used in adverbial phrases) a period or interval of time: once in a long while
8.  trouble or time (esp in the phrase worth one's while): it's hardly worth your while to begin work today
9.  the while at that time: he was working the while
 
usage  It was formerly considered incorrect to use while to mean in spite of the fact that or whereas, but these uses have now become acceptable

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

while
O.E. hwile, acc. of hwil "a space of time," from P.Gmc. *khwilo (cf. O.S. hwil, O.Fris. hwile, O.H.G. hwila, Ger. Weile, Goth. hveila "space of time, while"), originally "rest" (cf. O.N. hvila "bed," hvild "rest"), from PIE *qwi- "rest" (cf. Avestan shaitish "joy," O.Pers. iyatish "joy," L. quies "rest,
repose, quiet," O.C.S. po-koji "rest"). Notion of "period of rest" became in Gmc. "period of time." Now largely superseded by time except in formulaic constructions (e.g. all the while). M.E. sense of "time spent in doing something" now only preserved in worthwhile and phrases such as worth (one's) while. As a conjunction (late O.E.), it represents O.E. þa hwile þe; form whiles is recorded from c.1220; whilst is from c.1375, with excrescent -st as in amongst, amidst (see amid).

while
"to cause (time) to pass without dullness, 1635, earlier "to occupy or engage (someone or something) for a period of time" (1606), new formation from while (n.), not considered to be from M.E. hwulen "to have leisure," which is from a Gmc. verb form of while
(n.) (cf. Ger. weilen "to stay, linger"). An association with phrases such as Shakespearean beguile the day, L. diem decipere, Fr. tromper le temps "has led to the substitution of WILE v by some modern writers" [OED] (see wile).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

while definition


while loop

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

while

In addition to the idioms beginning with while, also see all the time (while); a while back; every now and then (once in a while); fiddle while Rome burns; get out while the getting is good; in a while; make hay while the sun shines; once in a while; quit while you're ahead; strike while the iron's hot; worth one's while.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
While we've made a lot of progress in understanding sleep, we've a long way to go to understand dreaming.
When she visits friends in big houses, she notices how many rooms are vacant
  while people gather naturally in one room.
How do you avoid a financial crisis while traveling?
Detention while waiting for a trial can last for weeks or longer.
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