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I have a friend who in the two-three years I've known her will say "whileas" wherever I or other English speakers I know would say "whereas". She is a native English speaker and has read extensively (mostly fantasy, but has read some Shakespeare, if for some reason the Bard uses this construction). We're guessing at this point that she sourced it from her mother, who also says it.

Googling reveals that there are some usages of "whileas" (or "while as") in older texts, such as The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night (Yes, really). Merriam-Webster says it's archaic, and a "helpful" commenter adds that "a highly educated person uses whileas in place of whereas".

However, I don't have access to the OED to see more of its history. Could anyone enlighten me? When was this used? Was it always a lesser-used form of "whereas"? Any historical background you could give me would be much appreciated. Also, is there any place one would just pick this word up without being a reader of original medieval literature?

Examples of friend's usage:

"A square has four sides, whileas a triangle has three."

Other usage: https://www.wordnik.com/words/whileas

A book with a super long title also uses this construction: link

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OED does have a definition for "whileas" under the entry for "while," often used as two separate words. You are correct that it means the same as "whereas" and is both obsolete and more rare than "whereas" in archaic form; A modern English speaker would likely be confused by hearing it in casual conversation.

4. while as (also occasionally as one word, cf. whenas adv. and conj., whereas adv. and conj.).

The most recent use cited by OED is from a poem from 1918, and the full text can be found in the link below:

How do the days press on, and lay

Their fallen locks at evening down,

Whileas the stars in darkness play

And moonbeams weave a crown

The oldest attestation is from 1563.

1563 Whyle as the rauenyng Wolues he prayed his gylteles lyfe to saue.

  • Barnabe Googe · Eglogs epytaphes, and sonettes · 1st edition, 1563 (1 vol.).

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