while Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “while” in the English Dictionary

"while" in British English

See all translations

whileconjunction

uk   us   /waɪl/

while conjunction (DURING)

A2 (also formal whilst ) during the ​time that, or at the same ​time as: I ​read it while you were ​dryingyourhair. 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 ​postoffice." "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 like the man. While I ​fullyunderstandyourpoint of ​view, I 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 all the ​housework while he just does the ​dishes now and again.
More examples

whilenoun

uk   us   /waɪl/
a while
More examples
B1 a ​length of ​time: I only ​stayed for a ​short while. You were there quite a while (= a ​longtime), weren't you? "When did that ​happen?" "Oh, it was a while ago (= a ​longtime ago). I haven't ​seen him for a while (= for a ​longtime). I'll be ​fine in a while (= ​soon).
See also
(Definition of while from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"while" in American English

See all translations

whilenoun [U]

 us   /hwɑɪl, wɑɪl/

while noun [U] (LENGTH OF TIME)

a ​length of ​time: He only had to ​wait a ​short while. It was a while before any ​waiter took ​theirorder. That ​happened a while ago (= did not ​happenrecently). I haven’t ​seen him for a while (= a ​longtime). She’s getting ​dressed, and she’ll be ​ready in just a little while (= ​soon).

whileconjunction

 us   /hwɑɪl, wɑɪl/

while conjunction (DURING)

during the ​time that, or at the same ​time as: I ​read it while you were ​dryingyourhair. "I’m going to the ​postoffice." "While you’re there can you get me some ​stamps?"

while conjunction (ALTHOUGH)

despite the ​fact that; ​although: While I ​know he’s not ​perfect, I do like him.

while conjunction (BUT)

compared with the ​fact that; but: Tom is very ​outgoing, while Ken’s ​shy and ​quiet.
(Definition of while from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of while?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

golden

made of gold

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More