Meanwhile is an adverb that signifies a temporal connection or transition between two events or actions that occur simultaneously or consecutively. It refers to the intervening period or the time in between the mentioned circumstances. The word is often employed to highlight the occurrence of a particular action or event while another event or action is ongoing or simultaneously happening. It acts as a linking term that establishes a connection between two events by indicating that something is happening during the time frame mentioned, providing a sense of simultaneity or coexistence.
In a broader sense, meanwhile can also imply the happening of another event in the interim or the occurrence of an alternative situation while something else is occurring or being discussed. It is used to indicate a shift in focus or a diversion from the main subject to address a different aspect or incident, often leading to a temporary suspension of the primary subject under discussion.
Overall, meanwhile functions as a transitional adverb that denotes the temporal coexistence of two events or actions, or signifies an alternative occurrence happening simultaneously or as a diversion to the primary event being discussed. This versatile term effectively assists in maintaining the logical flow between two separate incidents or actions, creating a comprehensive context and facilitating the understanding of temporal relationships.
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The word "meanwhile" can be traced back to Middle English, from the combination of two separate words: "mean" and "while".
The word "mean" in this context comes from Old English "gemǣne", meaning "common" or "shared". Over time, it also took on the sense of "occurrence", "interval", or "time in between".
The word "while" comes from Old English "hwīl", meaning "period of time" or "short period".
The combination of these two words gave rise to the word "meanwhile", which refers to the time or period in between two events or actions.