Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • conjunction While.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as while, or whiles, in all its senses.
  • In the mean time.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb Archaic While.
  • adverb [Archaic.] in the meantime; while.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • conjunction chiefly UK While, at the same time.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English whilest, alteration of whiles, whiles; see whiles.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From whiles +‎ -t. Cognate with West Frisian wylst ("whilst"). More at whiles.

Examples

  • Do it for a term whilst grooming a good successor on (or especially put onto) the GLA and, if you do a good job, you will be rewarded with a place in a future Cabinet, future (elected or unelected) Upper House etc, whatever you want.

    Fallout From the London Nightmayor

  • According to the Independent Schools Council parents hoping to send their child to a private school will mean shelling out, on average, £3,000 a term whilst fees including student boarding are usually around £7,500.

    Daily Financial News

  • The BoE is short of £200bn and buying that back will not be so easy short term whilst the Bank's MPC has to come to terms with the now massive cumulative overshoot of the CPI against target.

    The coalition counts on blaming Labour for everything. Bad move| Rafael Behr

  • We invite open-minded and perceptive people to feel the Buddha within whilst trekking from lush tropical forests to the arid high plateaus.

    More Trek | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • I was awarded the Purple Heart for hand-to-hand conflict I was involved in whilst in Mogadishu,

    LOCKHART PAUL

  • I did have a fantasy last night, whilst watching the three of four useful idiots who put the windows of RBS in whilst surrounded by at least 30 if not 50 journalists, of locking up the press pack who were there on conspiracy charges and assisting an offender.

    Ready And Waiting….. and waiting, and waiting…. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • I did have a fantasy last night, whilst watching the three of four useful idiots who put the windows of RBS in whilst surrounded by at least 30 if not 50 journalists, of locking up the press pack who were there on conspiracy charges and assisting an offender.

    G20 - The best press photos - April Fools Day « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • I find the image of a traditional British bobby with his arm round the shoulder of the late, unlamented, Sadam Hussein whilst waving a wedge of notes a design classic. on July 29, 2009 at 8: 57 pm R/T

    Islam? Yes. Gay? Yes. British? No, Oh, OK then. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • From one hand he uses gouache, hand painted monochromed based objects whilst from the other hand he uses “Depth Map” a technique where every pixel on the object is a shade of gray that is proportional to its distance from the object looking at it.

    Artwork by Kazuki Takamatsu | My[confined]Space

  • Quote of the night from Conservative Home's live blogging, which I was reading and participating in whilst watching the programme and live blogging here - who says only women can multitask?

    Archive 2008-01-01

Comments

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  • This word makes me giggle.

    May 13, 2011

  • I love this word and vow to employ it as often as possible at work next week. *giddy with anticipation of the look on the students' faces*

    May 13, 2011

  • It sounds pretentious to me. I don't like amongst or amidst, either.

    May 14, 2011

  • I believe that "whilst", "amongst" and "amidst" are all quite standard in British English (like putting a comma after a quotation mark), without any of that aura of pretentiousness or foppishness that makes Americans groan and giggle.

    May 14, 2011

  • Hmmm. *ponders usage whilst stuffing another cookie into pie hole*

    May 14, 2011

  • "Whilst" is definitely more common in the UK than in the US, but would you go as far as to call it "standard"? I read a lot of British books and listen to a lot of British radio, and I don't hear "whilst" very often.

    Any Brits around who might give us an insider's perspective?

    (I'm also curious to hear what the Aussies think!)

    May 14, 2011

  • Oh dear. Whilst we're standing around talking about words, dontcry is eating all the cookies!

    May 14, 2011

  • And she's doing it whilst preferring a smidge of pie!

    May 14, 2011

  • Where's an Australian when we need one? They always seem to be around when we don't need them!

    May 14, 2011

  • In my corner of the world and in my corner of Australia, 'whilst' isn't commonly used but when it is, it doesn't sound unnatural or pretentious either.

    I think it could possibly be a dying word...

    I'm intrigued by what rolig said about 'putting a comma after a quotation mark'-- example please? Speech marks or inverted commas?

    May 14, 2011