chiefly British
: while
I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach …Bram Stoker
… wisely decided to hold my peace, whilst Cynthia exhausted every possible hypothesis …Agatha Christie
… the chief difference between the "employed" and "self-employed" categories being that the former may enjoy unemployment benefit whilst the latter may not.Harry Calvert

Examples of whilst in a Sentence

I like to get my knitting done whilst watching the telly. whilst a good worker, he's not a very good manager

Word History


Middle English whilest, alteration of whiles

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whilst was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near whilst

Cite this Entry

“Whilst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ˈhwī(ə)lst How to pronounce whilst (audio)
chiefly British

More from Merriam-Webster on whilst

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