whilst (conjunction): chiefly British, while.
You’ll have to forgive me, dear reader, because I have recently returned from a British holiday and still have the word whilst ringing in my ears.
Why did we—and by we I mean North Americans–lose this word? It has so much more zing and pop than while. The clever flick of the L that lands playfully on the –st is almost melodic.
Take this quote:
Whilst we deliberate how to begin a thing, it grows too late to begin it.
Wouldn’t that sound less impressive if we replaced the whilst with a while? It adds polish and pizzazz. Dare I say, it even sounds posh?
It conjures up pictures of grand assembly rooms, long couches or Victorian sketches of the Grand Tour.
In short, whilst can transport me to gentility and grace. A one-word vacation. As an historian I know the time period I’m dreaming of was anything but, nevertheless I can romanticize whilst still maintaining a realistic vision of the world.
I know it’s a silly word to get giddy over, but I always take a moments pleasure and pause when I hear it spoken.
Is there a word that makes you smile?