In south-central PA (where everything is influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch culture), you get an additional, dialectal definition of “awhile”…and most of us don’t even know that it’s exclusive to our area! We often mean “awhile” as synonymous to “meanwhile” or “in the meantime.” For example, a waitress taking orders of beverages might say: “Can I get your drinks awhile?” — that is, can she get your drinks in the meantime, before she takes your orders for food? I think I just realized how we may have gotten this definition: from the phrase “to wait a while.” You see, when you’re waiting AWHILE / A WHILE (for a while) for something, you’re incidentally waiting AWHILE (meanwhile, as we mean it). My hypothesis is that our locals’ ancestors focused instead on the second phenomenon happening as people “wait awhile,” made that the primary meaning of “awhile,” and used it in combination with any verb that could fit the context.