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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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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