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 notesEdit

Since awhile means “for a while”, it often considered incorrect to use it with a preceding preposition, as one is already included: 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” (meaning the person can sit while they are waiting) and “You may sit a while” (meaning they can sit for a length of time).


Related termsEdit