I was reading the lyrics of Harry Chapin's song, 'Cat's in the Cradle' and I encountered the following lines:

I've long since retired and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day

What is the meaning of “I've long”? Is it grammatically accurate?

  • Harry Chapin with no 'L' in the surname. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


The whole phrase is "long since".
Here, it means simply "I retired long ago".

American Heritage Dictionary "since"
adv. 2. Before now; ago: a name long since forgotten.

Merriam-Webster "long since"
"adv. 1 : long ago: promises long since forgotten"

  • Just one more question, where can we use long since? Is there any rule or could be used interchangeably?
    – RS2000
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 15:12
  • If the meaning is "long ago", you can probably substitute "long since". It wouldn't work for just plain "ago" as in "one week ago". If you look at Google books for the phrase with quotes, and limit the search to 21st century, you can see a lot of example uses. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 18:01
  • And when searching for the collocation, don't be tricked by examples like this: "It has been too long since I saw you." That is not an example of this use, but of "too long" as an adverb and "since" as a conjunction. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 18:02
  • Thanks a lot for your inputs sir, really helpful
    – RS2000
    Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 5:02

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