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When “It’s Been a Minute” Means “It’s Been Quite a While”

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Michelle calls from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to ask about it’s been a minute meaning “It’s been a while.” Why would we use a phrase that usually means “sixty seconds” for a period of time that might actually be much longer? This slang meaning was first recorded among Black Americans in the 1970s, and later adopted by college students before spreading into mainstream culture. Sam Sanders, who hosts National Public Radio’s It’s Been A Minute, has described the phrase as a way of saying “Let’s catch up.” This is part of a complete episode.

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