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From Middle English menewhile, equivalent to mean +‎ 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.


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.


  • 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.