What’s the difference between “while” and “whilst”?

A simple question this time around – the words “while” and “whilst” are relatively common, but is there a difference between them?

Simply put, no. The word “while” can act as both a preposition (e.g. “While I was walking down the street, I saw a fox”) and a noun (e.g. “It took a long while to finish”).

“Whilst” is simply an older version of the preposition form of the word “while”. It is more often seen in British English, which explains why it is mostly seen in literature, but rarely (if ever) in American publications.

While you may not end up ever using the word “whilst” yourself, it’s still good to know that it means exactly the same thing.

Do note that “whilst” doesn’t replace the noun form of “while” – that is to say, you can say “Whilst I was walking down the street, I saw a fox”, but not “It took a long whilst to finish”.