gone; gone by; past (usually preceded by a noun):
five days ago.
in past time; in the past:
All this happened long ago.
Contemporary Examples

A little while ago, food professionals were at the bottom of the social scale; now we are “geniuses.”
How Julia Loosened Me Up Jacques Pepin August 3, 2009

Modi, one suspects, will be in no hurry to visit the land that considered him unfit for entry only a short while ago.
Mr. Politically Correct Obama, Meet Your Opposite, India’s Mr. Modi Tunku Varadarajan May 16, 2014

The JMG office that just a few days ago received victims of human rights abuse is now empty, covered in black ash.
Putin’s Favorite Acolyte Terrorizes Human Rights Activists Anna Nemtsova December 13, 2014

A short while ago, I ran into someone who is close to Obama and his circle.
Why Obama’s Campaign Film Won’t Reach Angry Voters Lee Siegel March 16, 2012

Up until a year or so ago, English sparkling wine was very hard to find in the U.S. (nobody imported it).
An Idiot’s Guide to New Year’s Wine Winston Ross December 27, 2012

Historical Examples

It was a good while ago that the events out of which this story was woven transpired.
The Wedge of Gold C. C. Goodwin

“You spoke a while ago as if you didn’t trust him implicitly,” she said.
Good Indian B. M. Bower

A little while ago, every letter to Isabella brought an account of fresh gaieties; dinners at Mr. Cole’s, or balls at the Crown.
Emma Jane Austen

It can’t be anything serious, since he was so well and gay but a little while ago.
The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Emile Zola

An hour or two ago he was a fugitive, practically unarmed, with nearly a score of Askari hunting him down.
Samba Herbert Strang

in the past: five years ago, long ago

early 14c., shortened form of Old English agan, agone “departed, passed away,” past participle of an obsolete verb ago “to go forth,” formed from a- “away” (perhaps here used as an intensive prefix) + gan “go” (see go (v.)). Agone remains a dialectal variant.
American Gastroenterological Organization


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