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four score and seven years ago

Eighty-seven years ago. (A "score" is a set of 20 items.) The iconic first line of US President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the speech he delivered at the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln gave this speech in 1863—87 years after 1776, the year of the founding of the United States. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
See also: ago, and, four, score, seven, year

many moons ago

  (old-fashioned)
a long time ago I only have the faintest memory of that time. It all happened many moons ago.
See also: ago, many, moon

a while back

Also, a while ago. Some time in the past, as in I ran into Barbara a while back but didn't get her new address, or John wrote me a while ago about his new baby. This term uses a while in the sense of "a short or moderate time," a usage dating from about 1300.
See also: back

long ago

A time well before the present, the distant past. For example, I read that book long ago, or The battles of long ago were just as fierce. [Second half of 1300s]
See also: ago, long

long ago

1. At a time or during a period well before the present: I read that book long ago.
2. A time well before the present: heroes of long ago.
See also: ago, long
References in classic literature ?
wants to become Madame General, in order that, in future, she may be spared the receipt of such invitations from Casino authorities as she received three years ago.
Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality of her many years ago as the Mr Wentworth of Monkford, Captain Wentworth's brother.
The walls of the chancel are of porcelain, all pictured over with figures of almost life size, very elegantly wrought and dressed in the fanciful costumes of two centuries ago.
I had long ago thrown aside illusions and theories, and was willing to meet the facts face to face, and to do whatever in God's name a man might do towards saving the next generation from such a burden.
You spoke, a little time ago," she continued, "of some great crisis with which your country might soon come face to face.
He lived in the long ago, when the world was young, in that period that we call the Mid-Pleistocene.
The name of this old book helps us to remember that long ago there was no paper, and that books were written on vellum made from calf-skin and upon parchment made from sheep-skin.
There were cultivated fields between the grove and the dark blue gulf; but far behind and on each side were woods, for Prince Edward Island a hundred years ago was not what it is today.
Marilla would have died the death before she would have put into words the thought that was always in the background of her mind whenever she had looked at Gilbert from his childhood up--the thought that, had it not been for her own wilful pride long, long ago, he might have been HER son.
Along time ago, there lived an old poet, a thoroughly kind old poet.
About that long ago there used to be a restaurant where this store stands--'Big Joe' Brady's restaurant.
Miss Pollyanna told me long ago that she couldn't tell her, 'cause her aunt didn't like ter have her talk about her father; an' 'twas her father's game, an' she'd have ter talk about him if she did tell it.
Your connection with Scotland Yard ended, I believe, some time ago.
It worn't a long time ago, nor it worn't a short time ago--just between the two, perhaps.
There's nothing else much to be fond on, for my furnitur' went long ago.