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I read a news article. I don't quite understand "have long said". Does it mean the prosecutors had a long speech or they said it a long time ago?

But prosecutors have long said they believe he killed many more people, last year putting the figure at 43 at least.

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long : adverb

1 For a long time.

‘we hadn't known them long’
‘an experience they will long remember’
‘his long-awaited Grand Prix debut’

It means that the prosecutors have said it for a long time.

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  • It's interesting. Do prosecutors keep saying it till reaching to 'long time'? I can understand the example 'an experience they will long remember', meaning they will remember for a long time. But I am not sure how I should understand 'have said it for a long time'. I can understand 'have said it a long time ago'. another eg is 'He has been waiting for a long time', because 'waiting' can last. Any thoughts?
    – dan
    Aug 29 '17 at 5:34
  • The prosecutors have been saying it for a long time (starting a long time ago and continuing until now). Here ’to say that ...’ means ’to hold an opinion that ...’ and not to literally speak the words.
    – smatterer
    Aug 29 '17 at 5:45

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