a long time coming


New Member
would someone please interpret/explain the meaning of the following sentences:

I'd like to know why that day is such a long time coming.
But the end was a long time coming.
They say the jobs could be a long time coming.
Theater profits can be a long time coming.

Thank you,
  • Linguist301

    Senior Member
    Armenian & English
    That's really poetic and any interpretations would be abstract and not immediately obvious. Or maybe "along time coming" has a specific definition, but I've never come across it myself. Would you be able to say where you found that?


    New Member
    From what I understand the phrase simply means that something takes long to accomplish, or, in other words, one needs to wait long before it happens.


    New Member
    Thanks for responding to my query.
    Actually, I sensed what they meant as I read them / + many other examples that I looked up in different sources, such as the Corpus of American English among others /, but what got me interested was the use of 'be' rather than 'take' where the accepted phrase for the longest time has been "take time doing sth." If the use of " take time + ing ...." can be found in all dictionaries, there is no single mention of " be a long time coming. " And I thought that was odd.
    To give you two more self-explanatory examples:
    Sleep was a long time coming, and she was surprised it did come, surprised when Rachel opened the door…
    Theater profits can be a long time coming if they ever arrive at all, but the investors…
    Maybe, we are looking at something that is relatively new in English, a recent change in wording??
    ' Curiouser and curiouser,' said Alice.
    Zena )))


    New Member
    Frisian and Dutch
    Hi there!

    I was searching the exact meaning of "long time coming" and came down here. I already figured it would indeed mean something like that something could take a while before showing/coming/happening etc. And what I read here only confirms that.

    But actually, what I wanted to say. Like Zena suggested, "long time coming" certainly ain't no recent change in language-usage at all, it's been used in the lyrics to a song of Soundgarden, recorded in 1993 and released in 1994, called "Fresh tendrils". A passage from the lyrics is:

    Long time coming
    It seemed to take me through
    Long time coming
    Many served the few
    And long to taste the shame
    That bows down before you

    And so on; long time coming .... x 232325

    Well, what's a "recent" change anyway but I figured that 16 years back might be considered quite a while ago!

    As you were!
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