It can be used with:
for, in, takes, took, be, were, was, before, after; and each way of using it is slightly different.


The meaning of “ages” is simple, but the senses in which it is used are more difficult to grasp:

  • a long time; a very long time
  • an eternity
  • a longer time than the speaker wants
  • an amount of time that the speaker considers significant
  • often used as a way of complaining that whatever is wanted is taking or will take too much time


  • for ages
  • in ages
  • takes ages
  • it will be ages
  • you were ages
  • it was ages
  • ages before
  • after ages

Example sentences

  1. I haven’t seen you in ages – you look different.
  2. We haven’t been here for ages; we must come here more often.
  3. It takes ages to learn to play the guitar.
  4. It took ages to get there.
  5. It will be ages before we get our exam results.
  6. I will not be able to meet her for ages because I have so much work on.
  7. You were ages in the bathroom. What were you doing?
  8. I was ages putting this proposal together. I hope they like it.
  9. I met her online about 2010, but it was ages before I met her in real life.
  10. The restaurant was lovely and the conversation was good, but it was ages before they brought the food.
  11. I have not seen her going to temple in ages.


Origin is unknown. However the word ages represents a vey long time, because of its use in denoting periods of history : the bronze age, the stone age.  Also: through the ages, which means throughout centuries.


  • forever
  • an age

A 5 Comments


AuthorFiona Mackenzie writes on 16th December 2017

Maria — Please see the new entry for “ages” above. Hope it helps!

AuthorFiona Mackenzie writes on 16th December 2017

Megha – Please see the new entry for “ages” above. Hope it helps!

AuthorMaria writes on 14th December 2017

How to say? After a long time I met her.
After ages I met her? Is this correct?

AuthorFiona Mackenzie writes on 13th December 2017

Hello @Megha,

“I haven’t seen you in ages” simply means I haven’t seen you for a long time.

The Idioms Team

AuthorMegha writes on 13th December 2017

“I haven’t seen you in ages.” What does it mean?

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