once upon a time


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once upon a time

A long time ago in the past. (Used predominantly as a clichéd opening to fairy tales or stories for young children.) Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was training to be a fearsome warrior. I was happy once upon a time, but I gave up on that dream the moment I chose to marry your father.
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once upon a time

Cliché once in the past. (A formula used to begin a fairy tale.) Once upon a time, there were three bears. Once upon a time, I had a puppy of my own.
See also: once, time, upon

once upon a time

On some past occasion, as in I may have sung this piece once upon a time, but I don't really remember it. This phrase, first recorded in 1595, is frequently used as the opening line of fairy tales and stories told to children, as in Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters.
See also: once, time, upon

once upon a time

1 at some time in the past (used as a conventional opening of a story). 2 formerly.
See also: once, time, upon

ˌonce upon a ˈtime

used, especially at the beginning of children’s stories, to mean ‘a long time in the past’: Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a princess in a big castle.
See also: once, time, upon