From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishwhilewhile1 /waɪl/ ●●● S1 W1 conjunction 1 DURINGTIME/AT THE SAME TIMEWHENduring the time that something is happening They arrived while we were having dinner. While she was asleep, thieves broke in and stole her handbag. She met Andy while working on a production of ‘Carmen’.2 all the time that something is happening Would you look after the children while I do the shopping?You use the present tense, not ‘will’, with while when you are talking about the future: I hope to visit the British Museum while I am in London. ✗Don’t say I hope to visit the British Museum while I will be in London.3 BUTused to emphasize the difference between two situations, activities etc Schools in the north tend to be better equipped, while those in the south are relatively poor.► see thesaurus at but4 ALTHOUGHin spite of the fact that SYN although While never a big eater, he did snack a lot. While there was no conclusive evidence, most people thought he was guilty.5 → while I’m/you’re etc at/about itTHESAURUSwhile during the time that you are doing something, or something is happeningI bought a magazine while I was waiting for the train.While we were on holiday, my bag was stolen.meanwhile at the same time as something else is happeningThey’re still working on our bedroom. Meanwhile, we’re sleeping downstairs.The Russians, meanwhile, declared war on August 8.in the meantime during the period of time between now and a future event, or between two events in the pastMore aid is expected soon, but in the meantime these people are going hungry.My new job hadn’t started, so in the meantime I tried to write a book.whilst British English while. Whilst sounds a little more formal than whileOne American plane was forced to land whilst flying over North Korea.Whilst all this was going on, the performers were getting ready for the show.
Examples from the Corpuswhile• They were killed while attempting to reach the summit.• While I like Carter personally, I don't think what he's doing is right.• My car was stolen while I was on holiday.• I read the book while I was on the plane.• I bought a magazine while I was waiting for the train.• While Sandy was filling out the forms, I called Jimmy from the airport.• While she is a likable girl, she can be extremely difficult to work with.• Someone broke into her house while she was on vacation.• While she was out of the room, he took a quick look at the papers on her desk.• While six percent of ordinary homes were damaged in the earthquake, only three percent of mobile homes were damaged.• While teaching standards could be raised, more funding would also help.• I'll just make a phone call while you finish the dishes.whilewhile2 ●●● S1 W2 noun 1 → a while2 → all the while → (every) once in a while at once1(8), → be worth somebody’s while (to do/doing something) at worth1(5), → make it worth somebody’s while at worth1(6)
Examples from the Corpuswhile• After a while he got the point that it was permanent.• After a while we are aware of a deviation, the gravitational pull of an unseen planet.• Things might be difficult for a while but I didn't envisage any radical changes.• The industry's hit-men will have to lie quiet, for a while.• Jasper and I watched them for a while, and they summoned us, in a friendly way, to join them.• But I begged his indulgence to share it with him just a little while longer.whilewhile3 verb → while away the hours/evening/days etc→ See Verb tableOrigin while2 Old English hwil