9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hwahylst, wahylst] /ʰwaɪlst, waɪlst/
Chiefly British, while.
Origin of whilst
1325-75; Middle English whilest, equivalent to whiles + parasitic -t as in amongst, amidst Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for whilst
  • Enjoy summer whilst it's here.
  • The works they created whilst on-site are now on show in an exhibition.
  • They will just vote whilst not having a clue as to why they are doing it.
  • Lets value each other equally whilst we do different things.
  • Both issues, whilst frustrating, aren't game breaking.
  • Yes, eating whilst driving can be dangerous, but eating on the street is hardly offensive.
  • Another car rammed hers whilst she was driving.
  • I'm trying to figure out a way to have some peace and quiet whilst I work, that's all.
  • The chin evolved as humans started thinking more and more and needed something to rest on their thumbs whilst thinking.
  • Many really do pack in a lot of involvement whilst on campus.
British Dictionary definitions for whilst


(subordinating) at the same time that: please light the fire while I'm cooking
(subordinating) all the time that: I stay inside while it's raining
(subordinating) in spite of the fact that: while I agree about his brilliance I still think he's rude
(coordinating) whereas; and in contrast: flats are expensive, while houses are cheap
(subordinating; used with a gerund) during the activity of: while walking I often whistle
preposition, conjunction
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) 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
(usually used in adverbial phrases) a period or interval of time: once in a long while
trouble or time (esp in the phrase worth one's while): it's hardly worth your while to begin work today
the while, at that time: he was working the while
See also whiles
Usage note
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
Word Origin
Old English hwīl; related to Old High German hwīla (German Weile), Gothic hveila, Latin quiēs peace, tranquīlustranquil


(mainly Brit) another word for while (sense 1), while (sense 2), while (sense 3), while (sense 4), while (sense 5)
Word Origin
C13: from whiles + -t as in amidst
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for whilst

late 14c., from while (q.v.) with adverbial genitive -s-, and excrescent -t- (as in amongst, amidst).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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