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worth the while
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Worth \Worth\, a. [OE. worth, wur[thorn], AS. weor[eth], wurE; akin to OFries. werth, OS. wer[eth], D. waard, OHG. werd, G. wert, werth, Icel. ver[eth]r, Sw. v[aum]rd, Dan. v[ae]rd, Goth. wa['i]rps, and perhaps to E. wary. Cf. Stalwart, Ware an article of merchandise, Worship.] [1913 Webster] 1. Valuable; of worthy; estimable; also, worth while. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] It was not worth to make it wise. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. Equal in value to; furnishing an equivalent for; proper to be exchanged for. [1913 Webster] A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats. --Shak. [1913 Webster] All our doings without charity are nothing worth. --Bk. of Com. Prayer. [1913 Webster] If your arguments produce no conviction, they are worth nothing to me. --Beattie. [1913 Webster] 3. Deserving of; -- in a good or bad sense, but chiefly in a good sense. [1913 Webster] To reign is worth ambition, though in hell. --Milton. [1913 Webster] This is life indeed, life worth preserving. --Addison. [1913 Webster] 4. Having possessions equal to; having wealth or estate to the value of. [1913 Webster] At Geneva are merchants reckoned worth twenty hundred crowns. --Addison. [1913 Webster] Worth while, or Worth the while. See under While, n. [1913 Webster]