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Old English ane ((for) a) hwile (while)


  • IPA(key): /əˈwaɪl/, /əˈhwaɪl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪl


awhile (not comparable)

  1. For some time; for a short time.
    Sit with me awhile.
  2. (US, dialectal) In the meantime; during (an implicit ongoing process).
    Can I get you a drink awhile?

Usage notes[edit]

Since awhile means “for a while”, it is never used with a preceding preposition, as one is already included. When preceded by a preposition, the correct form is “a while”, as two words, as in once in a while. Compare “sit with me awhile” and “sit with me for a while”.

In dialects using the second sense of the word, awhile is typically always used to convey such sense; the word is separated as “a while” for the first sense, whether preceded by a preposition or not. Compare “You can sit awhile” (meaning the person can sit while they are waiting) and “You can sit a while” (meaning they can sit for a length of time).

Related terms[edit]