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a coon's age
An exceptionally long period of time. Based on the folk belief that raccoons (shortened colloquially to "coons") had a longer-than-average lifespan. Primarily heard in US. It will take a coon's age to get all this work finished! I haven't been on a vacation in a coon's age. My goodness, I haven't seen you in a coon's age! How have you been?
See also: age
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Also, a dog's age. A very long time, as in I haven't seen Sam in a coon's age, or It's been a dog's age since I went to the ballpark. The first phrase rests on the mistaken idea that raccoons ("coons") live a long time. The variant may reflect a similar assumption but the true origin is not known. [c. 1835] Also see donkey's years.
See also: age
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.
coon's age, a
A long time. An American expression from the first half of the nineteenth century, it is based on the mistaken idea that raccoons (or “coons”) are long-lived. They are not, but their fur, widely used from colonial times, is sturdy and long-lasting. An early example appears in black dialect in Southern Sketches (1860): “This child haint had much money in a coon’s age.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer