WRONG:

WILE AWAY


RIGHT:

WHILE AWAY


”Waiting for my physical at the doctor’s office, I whiled away the time reading the dessert recipes in an old copy of Gourmet magazine.” The expression “while away the time” is the only surviving context for a very old use of “while” as a verb meaning “to spend time.” Many people substitute “wile,” but to wile people is to lure or trick them into doing something—quite different from simply idling away the time. Even though dictionaries accept “wile away” as an alternative, it makes more sense to stick with the original expression.


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