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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, Pennsylvania Dutch English) In the meantime; during an implicit ongoing process.
    Can I get you a drink awhile?

Usage notes[edit]

Awhile as means “for a while” is often considered incorrect to use with a preceding preposition, since one is already supposed: instead of “for awhile”, one should prefer either “for a while” or simply “awhile”. However, “awhile” as object for a preposition is used by renowned writers, is allowed by Merriam-Webster, and is consistent with how other adverbs of time and place are employed.

In Pennsylvania Dutch English, 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 may sit awhile” (inviting a person to sit while they are waiting) and “You may sit a while” (inviting them to sit for a length of time).


Related terms[edit]