Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Gone by; past: two years ago.
  • adv. In the past: It happened ages ago.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Gone; gone by; gone away; passed; passed away.
  • adj. Nearly gone; dead (used in Devonshire at the turn of the 19th century)
  • adv. in the past

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Past; gone by; since

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Gone; gone by; gone away; past; passed away: always after the noun.
  • In past time; in time gone by: only in the phrase long ago.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. gone by; or in the past
  • adv. in the past

Etymologies

Middle English, past participle of agon, to go away, from Old English āgān : ā-, intensive pref. + gān, to go; see ghē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ago, agon ("passed"), past participle of agon ("to depart, escape, pass"), from Old English āgān ("to go away, pass away, go forth, come to pass"), from Proto-Germanic *uz- (“out”), *gānan (“to go”), equivalent to a- +‎ gone. Cognate with German ergehen ("to come to pass, fare, go forth"). Compare also Old Saxon āgangan ("to go or pass by"), Gothic 𐌿𐍃𐌲𐌰𐌲𐌲𐌰𐌽 (usgaggan, "to go forth"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A week ago— (“A little more cheese, waiter”) —a week ago I grieved for the dying summer.

    A Word for Autumn

  • A short time ago -- (this _not long ago_ is with us men -- centuries) -- my rays followed a young artist; it was in the realm of the Pope, in the city of the world, in Rome.

    The Ice-Maiden: and Other Tales.

  • Everything is saved, that is something the church is closed not too long ago, 66 years ago» Enthusiasts of the Society for the Study of Russian manor in the record books and photographs, as destroyed the last nest of the old Russia, carrying tourists and - shrug.

    WN.com - Financial News

  • TeamBrian 11 points 20 hours ago TeamBrian 11 points 20 hours ago moskaudancer 5 points 17 hours ago moskaudancer 5 points 17 hours ago NSMike 1 point 11 hours ago*

    reddit.com: what's new online!

  • An_Anteater 7 points 52 minutes ago matt2500 2 points 1 hour ago* matt2500 2 points 1 hour ago* deaathleopards 1 point 16 minutes ago you'll need to login or register to do that is it really that easy? only one way to find out ...

    reddit.com: what's new online!

  • When I first read that, I thought "roomba" was new coolspeak for a "roommate", and that I was falling behind the times. switchmotiv 6 points 7 hours ago switchmotiv 6 points 7 hours ago saskpirate420 4 points 7 hours ago saskpirate420 4 points 7 hours ago TheEllimist 1 point 2 minutes ago kermityfrog 3 points 6 hours ago kermityfrog 3 points 6 hours ago HenkPoley 1 point 1 hour ago*

    reddit.com: what's new online!

  • For example, why does hiding a code snippet take so long? smokestack 1 point 19 minutes ago smokestack 1 point 19 minutes ago smokestack 2 points 2 hours ago smokestack 2 points 2 hours ago smokestack 1 point 56 minutes ago smokestack 1 point 56 minutes ago turiya04 1 point 4 hours ago* turiya04 1 point 4 hours ago*

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • Paczesiowa 12 points 3 hours ago vagif 1 point 12 minutes ago* vagif 1 point 12 minutes ago*

    reddit.com: what's new online!

  • On the other hand, someone taking 911 calls is sloetjes 24 points 59 minutes ago sloetjes 24 points 59 minutes ago RoboBama 7 points 1 hour ago*

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • LeeJunFan 2 points 36 minutes ago LeeJunFan 2 points 36 minutes ago nightowl_777 13 points 12 hours ago nightowl_777 13 points 12 hours ago dfranke 4 points 7 hours ago* dfranke 4 points 7 hours ago*

    reddit.com: what's new online!

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Comments

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  • Problem of classification: preposition or adverb? A construction like 'three weeks ago' is similar to 'three weeks later', where 'later' is the head adverb and 'three weeks' is a premodifier. However, in all such unequivocally adverbial senses, the modifier is optional. Since 'ago' can't be used on its own, the CGEL takes it to be a preposition and the NP 'three weeks' to be its preposed complement.

    July 7, 2009