[Idiom] That was way back when.

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beachboy

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"I remember seeing this film, but that was way back when". Is the expression "way back when" still common in everyday English?
 

andrewg927

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"Way back when" has never been used as far as I'm concerned.
 
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GoesStation

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Way back when​ is common in the American English of my region. It means "a long time ago".
 

bubbha

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As a native speaker of American English, I concur that "way back when" is a common colloquialism.
 

andrewg927

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It's not really used by me or the people around me.
 

andrewg927

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I don't doubt it. There are a lot of words or phrases I don't personally use but other people do.
 

andrewg927

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Good point. I said that because I thought the other phrase was more common. Apparently not.
 

Rover_KE

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There are a lot of words or phrases I don't personally use but other people do.
Quite so, Andrew. We could all say the same.

You might consider waiting to read other people's replies before giving us the benefit of your younger generation's viewpoint.
 

Lynxear

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"I remember seeing this film, but that was way back when". Is the expression "way back when" still common in everyday English?

This is a quite common phrase where I come from, perhaps not with the younger generation. It means "a long time ago" or "back in the old days" if the person saying this is very old.

I would add "a" to the expression though.

"I remember seeing this film, but that was a way back when".
 

Phaedrus

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The OED has the following entry on the phrase:

way back when: [short for ‘way back’ followed by a clause introduced by ‘when’ indicating to a time long past] (a) used as a title for an anecdote or narrative of times past (now rare); (b) a long time ago.
1921 Hosp. Managem. Feb. 51/2 A popular feature of a metropolitan newspaper is a ‘Way Back When’ column which appears daily under the stereotyped heading ‘Do You Remember Way Back When’ and the readers contribute some reminder or other of the good old days.
1923 Rotarian June 336/1 Occasionally I have contributed..a ‘Way Back When’ recollection to the ‘Wake of the News’.
1931 S. Thompson (title) Way back when; recollections of an octogenarian.

1951
Jrnl. Amer. Water Wks Assoc. 43 1 ‘Medication’, or even worse ‘mass medication’, has been plaguing fluoridationists almost ever since it was introduced innocently enough way back when.

1984
Sounds 1 Dec. 58/6 Relative newcomers aren't always in the best position to explain what happened way back when.

1994 L. Erdrich
Bingo Palace ix. 105 Zelda lives in the original log house from way back when, a place..added to over years gone by with layer on layer of Sheetrock and plaster.

1998 T. Clancy
Rainbow Six xx. 381 The Worldpark job was as good a bit of sorting out as I have ever seen, even better than the Iranian Embassy job in London, way back when.
 

GoesStation

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This is a quite common phrase where I come from, perhaps not with the younger generation. It means "a long time ago" or "back in the old days" if the person saying this is very old.

I would add "a" to the expression though.

"I remember seeing this film, but that was a way back when".

My guess is that your version is That was away back then. I've seen this expression written with an apostrophe: 'way back when,
indicating that the writer felt they were omitting a syllable.
 

Skrej

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I concur (tricur? quadcur?) 'way back when' is commonly used as well. A similar variant I hear and use is 'that was a ways back', although it's typically referring to a less distant time in the past than 'way back when'.

It's probably closer chronologically to 'that was a while ago', but it seems to combine the ideas of some of the above posts.
 

GoesStation

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I concur (tricur? quadcur?)....
The root con means "with", so you can use it to agree with as many people as you like. :)
 
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