[uh-hwahyl, uh-wahyl]


for a short time or period: Stay awhile.

Origin of awhile

before 1000; Middle English; Old English āne hwīle (dative); see a1, while

Usage note

The adverb awhile is spelled as a single word: After stopping in Hadley awhile, we drove to Deerfield. As the object of a preposition, the noun phrase a while is used, especially in edited writing, but the single-word form is becoming increasingly common: We rested for a while (or awhile ). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for awhile

briefly, momentarily, temporarily, transiently

Examples from the Web for awhile

Contemporary Examples of awhile

Historical Examples of awhile

  • But I kept looking and after awhile I was able to sit up and ask what hit me.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • A painter friend who lives by the sea has asked me to stay with him awhile.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • After awhile the master and mistress arrived, it seems, from a visit.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • The moon came up after awhile, and streamed in through the vines of the porch.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • After awhile she got to concealing them, as if she thought they annoyed me.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

British Dictionary definitions for awhile



for a brief period
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for awhile

Old English ane hwile "(for) a while" (see while (n.)); usually written as one word since 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper