Long Time, No Hear: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 20, 2023

The phrase "long time, no hear" is a casual way to greet someone you haven't been in touch with for a while. It's like saying, "It's been a long time since we last talked." This phrase is often used during catch-up sessions between friends, family, or colleagues. Whether it's a long-lost friend or a relative you haven't spoken to in ages, the saying sets the stage for reconnecting.

In short:

  • It's a greeting used when you haven't talked to someone.
  • It's often used to start conversations where you catch up with someone.

What Does "Long Time, No Hear" Mean?

When you say, "long time no hear," you're pointing out that it's been a long time since you last communicated with someone. You usually say this when you bump into an old friend or when you're chatting after not speaking for a while. For example, if a college buddy calls you out of the blue, you might answer with, "Long time no hear! How have you been?"

Let's look at its main meanings and how it's used:

  • It's a relaxed way to acknowledge the time since you last talked to someone.
  • You use it to kick off a conversation where you're likely to catch up on what you've missed.
  • This phrase helps to ease into the conversation, making it less awkward despite the time gap.
  • It's mostly used in informal settings among friends and family.
  • Similar sayings include "long time, no see" and "it's been a while."

Where Does "Long Time, No Hear" Come From?

The exact roots of "long time, no hear" aren't fully known, but it's believed to be a variation of the more commonly used "long time, no see." The latter has been around since at least the early 20th century and is thought to be a literal translation of a Native American or Chinese expression. It has the same casual, catch-up vibe and acknowledges the time elapsed since the last interaction.

Historical Example

"Hey, long time no hear, buddy. Well, I graduated from high school, then studied at Dartmouth and received my doctorate in economics from Yale."

- New York Magazine, 21 Mar 1977

10 Examples of "Long Time, No Hear" in Sentences

To give you a clear idea of how to use this phrase, let's look at some examples from different situations:

  • Long time no hear, but I'm glad you managed to make time for me today.
  • Upon receiving a call from his cousin after years, he said, "Wow, long time, no hear! What's new?"
  • We are planning for a reunion next month. How are you? Long time no hear.
  • Reconnecting with a former colleague over LinkedIn, he typed, "Long time, no hear. How's your new job?"
  • Getting an email from a high school buddy, she replied, "Long time, no hear! We should catch up."
  • All hands were on deck at the community event, and someone shouted, "Long time no hear, Sarah!"
  • Long time no hear, dear friend. Your daughter is as cute as a button.
  • Quite a while has passed; long time no hear, but I finally got to read that book you recommended.
  • Getting a surprise visit from his aunt, he hugged her and said, "Long time, no hear! What brings you here?"
  • Receiving a text from an old roommate, she replied, "Hey, long time, no hear! How’s life?"

Examples of "Long Time, No Hear" in Pop Culture

This phrase also pops up in movies, TV shows, and even songs, usually when characters are reconnecting.

Let's look at some examples:

  • "Long time no hear. Have relevant news to share. Betsy, the preggie plant lady, is quitting in her fifth month instead of sixth." - Barefoot Beach by Toby Devens
  • She pulled into the parking lot, and I snuck up beside her car and let myself in on the passenger's side. 'Hi, Buffy, long time no hear.'" - The Spider Web Charmer by Lawrence R. Deering
  • "'Long time no hear, huh?' I say, all cheery. 'How've you been?'" - The Late Bloomer: A Memoir of My Body by Ken Baker
  • "Long time no see / Long time no hear / Do I think about you / You're not here" - Long Time No See (Track 13) by Chico DeBarge

Synonyms: Other Ways to Say "Long Time, No Hear"

If you’re looking for different ways to express the same feeling, here are some options:

  • It's been ages
  • It's been forever
  • Where have you been?
  • It's been so long
  • Long time no see
  • Been a minute
  • What's been going on?
  • How long has it been?
  • Wow, it’s been a while
  • Good to hear from you

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Long Time, No Hear":

  • What does "long time, no hear" mean?

"Long time, no hear" is a casual expression used to acknowledge that you haven't been in contact with someone for a while. It's often said when reconnecting.

  • How can I use "long time, no hear" in a sentence?

You can use this phrase when you're catching up with someone you haven't spoken to in a long time. For example: "Hey, long time, no hear! What's new with you?"

  • Is this phrase used more in texts or face-to-face conversations?

You can use "long time, no hear" in both text messages and face-to-face conversations. It's pretty versatile and fits in multiple types of communication.

  • Is it commonly used among all age groups?

While it might be more common among younger people who text a lot, it's a phrase that people of all ages can use to reconnect with someone.

  • Is it considered polite or casual?

The phrase is generally considered casual. While not impolite, it may not be suitable for very formal settings.

  • Can it appear in professional emails?

It's best to avoid using "long time, no hear" in professional emails unless you have a casual relationship with the person you're emailing.

  • Does it imply that the person saying it wants to reconnect?

Generally, yes. Saying "long time, no hear" usually shows a desire to catch up or restart a relationship.

  • Does the phrase have any literal meaning?

Literally, the phrase means that it's been a long time since you've heard from someone. But it's usually used in a more figurative sense to point out that you've lost touch.

  • Is it ever used in a sarcastic or ironic way?

Yes, sometimes people use "long time, no hear" sarcastically when they feel they've been ignored or neglected.

  • Is it ever used in movies or TV shows?

Yes, the phrase is commonly used in movies and TV shows, often to set up a scene where characters are reuniting or catching up.

Final Thoughts About "Long Time, No Hear"

The idiom "long time, no hear" is a simple yet effective way to acknowledge the passage of time between interactions with someone. It's mostly casual, so think about the setting before using it. It can express a genuine desire to reconnect, but context is key.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase is casual and mostly used for reconnections.
  • It's not usually suitable for formal or professional settings.
  • The phrase can be both literal and figurative, depending on how it's used.
  • It can be used by people of all ages and in various forms of communication.

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