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come a long way

Make considerable progress or improvement, as in That's good, Rob—you've certainly come a long way. This usage, which transfers the “distance” of a long way to progress, gained considerable currency in the 1960s and 1970s in an advertising slogan for Virginia Slims cigarettes addressed especially to women: “You've come a long way, baby.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.