While was in use in old english whilst is a middle english development of while. As conjunctions they are interchangeable in meaning, but whilst has not survived in standard american english. I waited whilst mugabe delivered what he thought were his pearls of wisdom i waited while breakfast was finished.
Whilst is a formal word which has the same meaning as while.
While or whilst? While and whilst mean the same when we use them as conjunctions. They both mean during the time that something else happens, or in contrast with something else.
While or Whilst? Grammar Monster
whilst definition whilst means the same as the conjunction while 1.
While is a word in the english language that functions both as a noun and as a subordinating conjunction. Its meaning varies largely based on its intended function, position in the phrase and even the writer or speakers regional dialect.
in american english, whilst is considered to be pretentious or archaic. Penguin working words recommends while only, and notes that whilst is old-fashioned. Cambridge guide to english usage and m-ws websters guide to english usage comment on its regional character, and note that it is rare in american usage.
The bottom line is that while and whilst are interchangeable (if you can live with the risk that most () or a few () of your readers will find whilst outdated). The final advice if youre unsure which to use, use while (especially if youre an american).
It originates from middle english, and like many words from this era, was first used in the 14th century. Whilst is common in formal british english, but in american english, you rarely see this word, even in the most formal occasion.