Definition of “while” - English Dictionary

“while” in English

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whileconjunction

uk /waɪl/ 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 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?"

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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 fully understand your point of view, I also have some sympathy with Michael's.

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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.

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whilenoun

uk /waɪl/ us /waɪl/
a while

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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

Idiom(s)

(Definition of “while” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“while” in American English

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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 their order.
That happened a while ago (= did not happen recently).
I haven’t seen him for a while (= a long time).
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 drying your hair.
"I’m going to the post office." "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)

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while

The new initiative will continue to pursue these goals by reinforcing them, while particularly promoting equal opportunities between men and women and integrating socially marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
The pressure groups in the biotechnology industry explain that there is no risk, while at the same time saying that compulsory insurance is impossible because the risk is not insurable.
Similarly, only sustainable forestry can provide a proper foundation for a competitive wood industry, while making a crucial contribution to the development of rural areas.
While it is desirable to create a level playing field it may also be necessary to provide subsidies for certain types of energy in order to promote other objectives.
While desirable in itself, a constitution of this kind could only be adopted as the crowning touch to far-reaching institutional reform.
They have pushed for a long time to get this through while some governments were very reluctant, saying it was unrealistic.
Many will speak about peace and conflict resolution while at the same time will be making deals to sell arms to combatants.
They then removed the fish from the lorries and sprayed it with diesel oil or similar products in order to damage it permanently, while uttering threats.
Behind the regulations was a political objective of ensuring growth, employment and competitiveness and of giving everyone access to the information society while ensuring adequate legal protection.
If we adopt an attitude, we cannot express any indignation at waste while at the same time putting forward a budget of this type.

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