Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “while”

See all translations

while

conjunction uk   /waɪl/ us  

while conjunction (DURING)

A2 ( also formal whilst ) during the time that, or at the same time as: I read it while you were drying your hair. While I was in Italy I went to see Alessandro. I thought I heard him come in while we were having dinner. "I'm going to the post office." "While you're there can you get me some stamps?"
More examples

while conjunction (ALTHOUGH)

B2 ( also formal whilst) despite the fact that; although: While I accept that he's not perfect in many respects, I do actually quite like the man. While I fully understand your point of view, I do also have some sympathy with Michael's.
More examples

while conjunction (BUT)

B1 compared with the fact that; but: He gets £50,000 a year while I get a meagre £20,000! Tom is very extrovert and confident while Katy's shy and quiet. I do every single bit of housework while he just does the dishes now and again.
More examples

while

noun uk   /waɪl/ us  
a while
More examples
B1 a length of time: I only stayed for a short while. You were there quite a while (= a long time), weren't you? "When did that happen?" "Oh, it was a while ago (= a long time ago). I haven't seen him for a while (= for a long time). I'll be fine in a while (= soon).
See also
(Definition of while from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of while?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “while” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

guru

a religious leader or teacher in the Hindu or Sikh religion

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

crossfit noun

March 23, 2015
high-intensity strength training Two women in strappy dresses discussed how much weight they could snatch

Read More