Definition of awhile in US English:



  • For a short time.

    ‘stand here awhile’
    • ‘Stay awhile amid these paintings to appreciate their graphic realism and intense detail.’
    • ‘Soon he is off to a small town on the west coast where he decides to stick around awhile.’
    • ‘So I'll sit here a while and write a song.’
    • ‘We intended to sit awhile in the reception area but found it in virtual darkness.’
    • ‘If you really, really, like them, you might wait it out awhile to see if they outgrow this annoying phase.’
    • ‘If the fight lasts awhile, which it figures to do, Ruiz will land some shots.’
    • ‘But you stand here awhile, that I may. announce to you the word of God.’
    • ‘I sat there the rest of the evening some of my friends came to sit with me awhile but they left to dance around ten minutes later.’
    • ‘So I'm going to savour it awhile and plot some hedonistic scheme to keep me amused.’
    • ‘For many of us, New Year Day gives us time to pause awhile and think about our loved ones in a special way.’
    • ‘She waited awhile but no sound was heard, not even the twittering of birds outside.’
    • ‘Local golfers paused awhile to point it out to one another, then continued on their rounds.’
    • ‘There we got a great welcome, rested awhile while we ate a grand meal prepared by the cook.’
    for a moment, for a while, for a short time, for a little while
    View synonyms


The adverb awhile, meaning 'for a short time,' should be written as one word (we paused awhile). The noun phrase, meaning ‘a period of time,’ especially when preceded by a preposition, should be written as two words (Margaret rested for a while; we'll be there in a while). See also worthwhile


Old English āne hwīle ‘(for) a while’.