Open main menu




while away (third-person singular simple present whiles away, present participle whiling away, simple past and past participle whiled away)

  1. (transitive) To spend (time) idly but pleasantly
    We whiled away the hours playing cards.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[[Episode 12: The Cyclops]]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare & Co.; Sylvia Beach, OCLC 560090630; republished London: Published for the Egoist Press, London by John Rodker, Paris, October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      A posse of Dublin Metropolitan police superintended by the Chief Commissioner in person maintained order in the vast throng for whom the York street brass and reed band whiled away the intervening time by admirably rendering on their blackdraped instruments the matchless melody endeared to us from the cradle by Speranza's plaintive muse.

Usage notesEdit

Sometimes misspelled as wile away.