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From Middle English menewhile, equivalent to mean (intermediate) +‎ while. Adverb is by ellipsis from in the mean while, noun being conventionally written as one word after the adverb.



meanwhile (plural meanwhiles)

  1. The time between two events.
    • Quoted in 2002, Stephen C. Ausband, Byrd's Line: A Natural History (page 37)
      In the meanwhile, the surveyors carried the line three miles, which was no contemptible day's work, considering how cruelly they were entangled with briers and gallbushes.


Derived terms[edit]


meanwhile (not comparable)

  1. During the time that something is happening.
  2. At the same time, but elsewhere.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[1]:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
  3. In contrast or opposed to aspects previously mentioned.
    • 2013 March 29, Markos Papadatos, quoting Marina Diamandis, “Marina And The Diamonds on 'How to be a Heartbreaker'”, in Greek Reporter[2]:
      When you are in the studio you don’t have anybody to feed off of, meanwhile when you are playing live you interact with people and you feel the energy in the room.


  • 1955 March 1, Winston Churchill, From his last major speech in the House of Commons:
    The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.