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While (originally a noun meaning "time"). Hence "a-while," "(for) a time;" "the while," "(in) the (mean) time;" "whil-om" ("om" being a dative plural inflexion used adverbially), "at a (former) time;" "while-ere" (Temp. iii. 2. 127), "a time before," i.e. "formerly."

So whiles (genitive of while) means "of, or during, the time." The earliest use of while is still retained in the modern phrase "all the while that he was speaking." "The while that," from a very early period, is used in the condensed form "the while," or "while that" or while; and whiles was similarly used as a conjunction.

While now means only "during the time when," but in Elizabethan English both while and whiles meant also "up to the time when." (Compare a similar use of "dum" in Latin and ἕως in Greek.)

“We will keep ourself
Till supper-time alone. While (till) then, God be with you.

“I'll trust you while your father's dead.” MASSINGER (Nares).

“He shall conceal it
Whiles you are willing it shall come to note.

“Let the trumpets sound
While we return these dukes what we decree.
[A long flourish.
Draw near, &c.

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