geNius wrote:Does anyone realize it's a Middle English word meaning "while", and that it has no place in today's English?
By what source do you do you say this? I just checked both my Collins and Chambers Dictionaries and neither say its archaic or in-proper.
"Whilst" in its current meaning of 'while' is not really Middle English. Yes, it's been in use since the 1300's, but it's only been used in its current meaning since the late 1500's. A more normal Middle English term for 'while' would have been "whilom". (source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)
"Whilst" as we use it now is a Modern English word by any standards. Yes, it is synonymous with "while". Y'know what? English is full
of synonyms. It's one of the big features of the language. That's why (depending on who you listen to) there are anything between 600,000 and 900,000 different words in English, surpassing most other languages by a few hundred thousand. From what I remember off-hand, neither German nor French break 300,000 terms.
As a synonym of "while", "whilst" is perfectly valid, and is not archaic. It would be considered to be a more formal word, and is significantly less used, but that doesn't make it incorrect.
And sorry to say, "I whilst away the hours while reading this kind of drivel ." is, in fact, incorrect. "Whilst" is not used as a verb the way "while" is, so it has to stay "I while away the hours while reading this kind of drivel."