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a million years ago

A very long time ago. I was prom queen, but that was a million years ago—long before this white hair and all these wrinkles. Oh, wow, I last saw Andie a million years ago! How is she? I can't believe anyone in the mailroom still remembers me. I was a summer intern there about a million years ago!
See also: ago, million, year

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. A: "Have you ever read this book?" B: "Yeah, but a while back. I couldn't tell you any of the characters' names." I went to that restaurant a while back—it was pretty good.
See also: back, while

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

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

many moons ago

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

yonks ago

informal At a point or during a period of time long before the present. Primarily heard in UK, Australia, New Zealand. We moved here yonks ago. The area has really changed a lot since then! I last saw Al yonks ago. I wonder how he's doing now.
See also: ago, yonks
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

many ˈmoons ago

(literary) a very long time ago: Many moons ago, when I was young...
See also: ago, many, moon
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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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. I had a serf, Filka; just after his burial I called out forgetting
I thought of that long ago. If you believe in a future life, you could believe in that, too."
"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. That's enough for me.
If there were a millionth fraction of self-interest in my offer, I should not have made it so openly; and I should not have offered her ten thousand only, when five weeks ago I offered her more, Besides, I may, perhaps, very soon marry a young lady, and that alone ought to prevent suspicion of any design on Avdotya Romanovna.
"I am old and rheumatic, and my dancing days were over long ago. But either of these gay young gentlemen will be glad of so pretty a partner."
"She promised me her hand, fifty years ago!" exclaimed Mr.
Some little time ago, three of those trees were found hewn down.
A signature made by a hand which vanished out of this life near a thousand years ago, is a more impressive thing than even a ruined castle.
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. The design was a history of something or somebody, but none of us were learned enough to read the story.
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. "Why, ma'am," I said, "it is a pretty notion, and there may be something in it.
I have already told you, reader, that this conversation took place no longer ago than yesterday.
"Let me remind you, then, of what we were saying a little time ago," he went on.
Do not you ever read the history of your country as it was many hundreds of years ago, before this ugly thing they call civilization weakened the sinews of our race and besmirched the very face of duty?