Idioms

    all the while, at or during this time; all along: She realized all the while that the cake would fall.
    worth one's while, worth one's time, trouble, or expense: The art exhibition that opened yesterday isn't worth your while.

Origin of while

before 900; Middle English; Old English hwīl; cognate with Dutch wijl, German weile, Old Norse hvīla, Gothic hweila

Can be confused

while wile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for worth one's while

while

/ (waɪl) /

conjunction Also: whilst (waɪlst)


preposition, conjunction

Scot and Northern English dialect another word for until you'll have to wait while Monday for these sheets; you'll never make any progress while you listen to me

noun

See also whiles

Word Origin for while

Old English hwīl; related to Old High German hwīla (German Weile), Gothic hveila, Latin quiēs peace, tranquīlus tranquil

usage

It was formerly considered incorrect to use while to mean in spite of the fact that or whereas, but these uses have now become acceptable
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

Idioms and Phrases with worth one's while (1 of 2)

worth one's while

1

Merit one's time or efforts, as in It's hardly worth your while to count the transactions; it can be done by computer. [Late 1600s]


2

make something worth one's while. Compensate one for one's time or efforts, as in If you take care of our yard while we're away, I'll make it worth your while. [Mid-1800s] Both usages employ while in the sense of “a period of time spent.”

Idioms and Phrases with worth one's while (2 of 2)

while

In addition to the idioms beginning with while

  • while away
  • while back
  • while there's life there's hope

also see:

  • all the time (while)
  • a while back
  • every now and then (once in a while)
  • fiddle while Rome burns
  • get out while the getting is good
  • in a while
  • make hay while the sun shines
  • once in a while
  • quit while you're ahead
  • strike while the iron's hot
  • worth one's while

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.