while / (h)wīl/ • n. 1. a period of time: we chatted for a while she retired a little while ago. ∎ (a while) for some time: can I keep it a while?2. (the while) at the same time; meanwhile: he starts to draw, talking the while. ∎ poetic/lit. during the time that: beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung.• conj. 1. during the time that; at the same time as: nothing much changed while he was away.2. whereas (indicating a contrast): one person wants out, while the other wants the relationship to continue. ∎ in spite of the fact that; although: while I wouldn't recommend a night-time visit, by day the area is full of interest.• relative adv. during which: the period while the animal remains alive.• v. [tr.] (often while away the time) pass time in a leisurely manner: a diversion to while away the long afternoons.PHRASES: between whiles archaic at intervals: add potassium carbonate, shaking vigorously between whiles.worth one's while worth the time or effort spent.