Based on Cambridge dictionary the meaning of "a while" is a long time. For example:

You were there quite a while (= a long time), weren't you?

"When did that happen?" "Oh, it was a while ago (= a long time ago).

I haven't seen him for a while (= for a long time).

All of these examples are taken from the mentioned dictionary.

Now my question refers to a case where I want to say to my friend that I called him in 1 up to 5-7 hours ago (let's say that I'm not sure exactly) and I want to say something like "I called you "a while ago" but for short time like I mentioned. Does "some time ago" works here?

2 Answers 2


not long ago

synonyms: not long ago, a short time ago, in the last few days, in the last few months, in the last few weeks, in the past few days, in the past few months, in the past few weeks, a little while back

English Oxford Dictionaries

  • So could I say "recently" for the last few hours? Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 23:50
  • @Archimedean_Point recently is thedefinition, the answers are: "not long ago", "a short time ago" or "a little while back". Take your pick, you can use either to tell someone that you called them "a couple of hours ago"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 0:13
  • For a very short time "I just called you". Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 0:25
  • Just a short time ago....
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 0:27

We can say a little while ago.

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