while away

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while away

To spend an amount of time idly, pleasantly, or in a carefree manner. Often used in the phrase "while away the hours." A noun or pronoun can be used between "while" and "away." When we were kids, we would while away the hours on rainy days just drawing pictures and reading books. Don't just while the summer away—set a goal for yourself and do something constructive.
See also: away

while away

Spend time idly or pleasantly, as in It was a beautiful day and we whiled away the hours in the garden. This expression is the only surviving use of the verb while, meaning "to spend time." [First half of 1600s]
See also: away

while away the time, etc. (doing something)

pass the time (doing something), usually because you are waiting for something or have nothing better to do: I had ten hours to wait in Rome, so I whiled away the time wandering around the museums.
See also: away, while

while away

v.
To spend some duration of time idly or pleasantly: The campers whiled the hours away by singing songs. We whiled away the summer.
See also: away
References in classic literature ?
She returned just in time to join the others as they quitted the house, on an excursion through its more immediate premises; and the rest of the morning was easily whiled away, in lounging round the kitchen garden, examining the bloom upon its walls, and listening to the gardener's lamentations upon blights, in dawdling through the green-house, where the loss of her favourite plants, unwarily exposed, and nipped by the lingering frost, raised the laughter of Charlotte,--and in visiting her poultry-yard, where, in the disappointed hopes of her dairy-maid, by hens forsaking their nests, or being stolen by a fox, or in the rapid decrease of a promising young brood, she found fresh sources of merriment.
Here Madame de la Rocheaimard whiled away the close of a varied and troubled life; if not in absolute peace, still not in absolute misery, while her grand-daughter grew into young womanhood, a miracle of goodness and pious devotion to her sole surviving parent.
But it seemed these beer busts were a diversion of these high-spirited young fellows whereby they whiled away the tedium of existence by making fools of their betters.
Through that long night I held my mind off the Morlocks as well as I could, and whiled away the time by trying to fancy I could find signs of the old constellations in the new confusion.
Jimmy Hollis and Colin Short whiled away many an hour inventing schemes for surmounting the obstacle presented by the barrier cliffs, and making ridiculous wagers as to which one Tom Billings had in mind; but immediately we were all assured that we had raised Caprona, Billings called us together.
Thus, in discourse, the lovers whiled away The night that waned and waned and brought no day.
They whiled away their hours on deck reading, talking, or taking pictures with Miss Strong's camera.
But I whiled away my time in performing the duties given me to the best of my ability and attempting to learn the language of my captors.
Butteridge's letters and examining his pocket-book, and in this manner he whiled away the afternoon.
And so they whiled away the time until morning chapel.
This answered better; it whiled away the time, and kept him from wondering where he was going, and how it was that he found himself in such an odd situation.
He noted that contrary to their expectation, residents of Tlokweng mostly whiled away time and the night in their homes during the arrival on the new year.
Two others whiled away the hours chatting with the estate's layabouts.
BALLET students from Hilary Dickinson Ballet School whiled away the time until their train arrive at Lime Street Station with high leaps.
Loggers who settled Michigan's Upper Peninsula whiled away winter evenings with tales of extreme weather; strange geography; improbable feats; and mythical creatures, such as the hodag, flitterick, and agropelter.