ago

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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

A long time in the past. I used to be quite the athlete, many moons ago.
See also: ago, many, moon

a while back

At some point in the past. I bought this dress a while back but have never had a chance to wear it.
See also: back, while

long ago

1. adverb At a point or during a period of time long before the present. I traveled to India so long ago that it feels like a distant dream now.
2. noun A point or period of time long before the present. His poetry is haunted by the myths and memories of long ago.
See also: ago, long

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, while

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

many moons ago

a long time ago. informal
The reference here is to the phases of the moon marking out the months.
See also: ago, many, moon

many ˈmoons ago

(literary) a very long time ago: Many moons ago, when I was young...
See also: ago, many, moon

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 ?
The second time was the day before yesterday, at daybreak, on the journey at the station of Malaya Vishera, and the third time was two hours ago in the room where I am staying.
Y-yes, I have seen them, but only once in my life, six years ago.
Only think," he cried, "half an hour ago we had never seen each other, we regarded each other as enemies; there is a matter unsettled between us; we've thrown it aside, and away we've gone into the abstract
I have taken nothing but what Marfa Petrovna gave me a year ago.
Had she really been right in the resistance which had cost her so much pain six years ago, and again four years ago--the resistance to her husband's wish that they should adopt a child?
I am old and rheumatic, and my dancing days were over long ago.
And there was a plaster cast of the head of a man who was assassinated about sixty years ago.
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 raised her hand and touched it with my lips, as we whimsical old fellows do when some gracious girl makes us to hear the key in the lock of long ago.
I have already told you, reader, that this conversation took place no longer ago than yesterday.
The Admiral wrote me, a few weeks ago, that he saw no hope for anything else.
You spoke, a little time ago," she continued, "of some great crisis with which your country might soon come face to face.
Let me remind you, then, of what we were saying a little time ago," he went on.