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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
While \While\, n. [AS. hw[imac]l; akin to OS. hw[imac]l, hw[imac]la, OFries. hw[imac]le, D. wigl, G. weile, OHG. w[imac]la, hw[imac]la, hw[imac]l, Icel. hv[imac]la a bed, hv[imac]ld rest, Sw. hvila, Dan. hvile, Goth. hweila a time, and probably to L. quietus quiet, and perhaps to Gr. ? the proper time of season. [root]20. Cf. Quiet, Whilom.] 1. Space of time, or continued duration, esp. when short; a time; as, one while we thought him innocent. "All this while." --Shak. [1913 Webster] This mighty queen may no while endure. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] [Some guest that] hath outside his welcome while, And tells the jest without the smile. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster] I will go forth and breathe the air a while. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster] 2. That which requires time; labor; pains. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Satan . . . cast him how he might quite her while. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] At whiles, at times; at intervals. [1913 Webster] And so on us at whiles it falls, to claim Powers that we dread. --J. H. Newman. [1913 Webster] The while, The whiles, in or during the time that; meantime; while. --Tennyson. Within a while, in a short time; soon. Worth while, worth the time which it requires; worth the time and pains; hence, worth the expense; as, it is not always worth while for a man to prosecute for small debts. [1913 Webster]