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If someone says "in the last month", it refers to the past 30~ days, but I would love to learn if there are phrases or words describing the period of 60 to 30 days before today?

For example, today is May 15th, and if something happened between Apr 15th to May 15th, it happened "in the last month". What if something happened between Mar 15th to Apr 15th? "In the second nearest month" sounds quite unusual to me.

Also 60-90 days ago and so on?

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  • 1
    It happened sometime in the month before last.
    – Drew
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 14:40
  • I think you cannot say it more unambiguously than how you already said it. Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 9:24

4 Answers 4

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You could say four to eight weeks ago, this seems a little clumsy but it gets the idea across.

You could also say the month before last, but most people would think this means the calendar month before the one we're in now, eg "sometime in May" if I'm writing this in mid-June, or two calendar months ago (ie april). Neither of these corresponds to a period of 60-30 days ago.

In practice, it's very rare that someone would want to ask someone else a question about "the period 60-30 days ago" - discussions about what happened in a specific month would almost always use the calendar month, unless the speakers had some already defined alternate period, eg a "payroll month" which goes from the 15th to the 15th, in which case when they say "the month before last" they would mean the 15th of april to the 15th of may, which isn't "60-30 days ago" either. Anyway, words appear according to demand, and since there's no demand, there is (I think) no word.

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What happened in the penultimate month?

occurring immediately before the last one.

There is also second to last and next to last.

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  • But penultimate would normally mean an entire calendar month, not a 30-day period leading up to a particular date. (Edit: "In the second-to-last month" might work if it's contrasted with "In the last month")
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 9:38
  • @AndrewLeach what if he uses it as a time frame? As in "what happened in the penultimate 30 - day period?"
    – vickyace
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 9:40
  • Yes, if it's referenced to the immediately preceding 30-day period, any of the three will work. I think the OP is looking for a word which will stand alone, in the same way that "the last month" means the immediately-preceding 30-day period.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 10:02
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Informally, if I didn't know the exact date I would say about six weeks or so ago.

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Month before last, or two months back.

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  • Welcome to EL&U! This isn't a bad answer to the question but it would be better if you had some explanation or evidence of the phrase being used Commented May 22, 2018 at 19:27

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