the prime of life

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the prime of life

One's happiest, most successful time; the period when one has the most energy, vitality, and potential. Often structured as "the prime of (one's) life." My father was in the prime of life when he was diagnosed with cancer. It's many a man and woman who, in old age, looks back on the prime of their lives with bittersweet nostalgia.
See also: life, of, prime

prime of life

The best years of one's life, when one is at the peak of one's powers, as in She was in the prime of life when she began to lose her sight. The related phrase in one's prime can be applied to objects as well as persons. For example, The roses were in their prime when you last saw them. In both idioms prime means "first in quality or character." [Early 1700s] Also see past one's prime.
See also: life, of, prime

prime of life, the

The best years of one’s life, at the peak of one’s powers. The idea that there should be a particular time of flourishing is an ancient one. Plato in The Republic defined it as a period of about twenty years in a woman’s life and thirty in a man’s. Poets, among them Robert Herrick and John Milton, generally equated one’s youth with one’s prime. However, the eccentric schoolteacher-heroine of Muriel Spark’s novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (and the 1969 motion picture based on it) declared the years of her rapidly advancing middle age to be her prime.
See also: of, prime
References in periodicals archive ?
The years after 60 can be the prime of our lives. The facts about sexual pleasure in older people challenge the widely believed myths that people of this age are beyond having sex.