the good old days

Also found in: Wikipedia.

the good old days

A past period of better times. Often used to describe a time that one believes was better, simpler, or more wholesome than the current period. Ah, those were the good old days. Did you know I was captain of the football team back then? Were the good old days really that good? I think your memory is a bit rosier than reality.
See also: days, good, old

good old days

back in an earlier time which everyone remembers as a better time, even if it really wasn't. Back in the good old days, during World War I, they used real cactus needles in record players. The good old days didn't start until they had indoor bathrooms.
See also: days, good, old

the good old days

COMMON People use the good old days to talk about a time in the past when they think life was better. Brad's dead, and sitting around talking about the good old days isn't going to bring him back. In the good old days, the studios were able to look after stars when there wasn't much work.
See also: days, good, old

the ˈgood/ˈbad old days

an earlier period of time in your life or in history that is seen as better/worse than the present: That was in the bad old days of very high inflation.
See also: bad, days, good, old

good old days, the

The past viewed with nostalgia. “Last year was always better,” recorded Erasmus in his Adagia (quoting Diogenianus, from his Adagia of ca. a.d. 125). The human propensity to view the past as superior to the present has often been pointed out by philosophers since ancient times, and the validity of this view has just as often been called into question. Consequently, the current cliché is often used ironically or sarcastically. Its counterpart, dating from about 1930, is the bad old days, signifying a less sentimental view of the past.
See also: good, old
References in classic literature ?
Although Iogel did not acknowledge this to be the real mazurka, everyone was delighted with Denisov's skill, he was asked again and again as a partner, and the old men began smilingly to talk about Poland and the good old days.
In the good old days up in Colusa we used to hang men like him just to keep the air we breathed clean and wholesome.
What boy has not sighed for the good old days of wars, revolutions, and riots; how I used to pore over the chronicles of those old days, those dear old days, when workmen went armed to their labors; when they fell upon one another with gun and bomb and dagger, and the streets ran red with blood
It recalled to my mind tales that I had read of the good old days when naval vessels were built to fight, when ships of peace had been man-of-war, and guns had flashed in other than futile target practice, and decks had run red with blood.
Our subject was an infant in arms when he lost his father, an officer who died just as he was about to be court-martialled for gambling away the funds of his company, and perhaps also for flogging a subordinate to excess (remember the good old days, gentlemen).
Oh, give me back the good old days of fifty years ago," has been the cry ever since Adam's fifty-first birthday.
I should be getting up when I pleased, eating and drinking all I wanted, and carrying on same as in the good old days.
There is a blatant bumptiousness about a steam launch that has the knack of rousing every evil instinct in my nature, and I yearn for the good old days, when you could go about and tell people what you thought of them with a hatchet and a bow and arrows.
You bet they didn't," Billy agreed "Them was the good old days.
He had the air of one who recalls the good old days, of one who in familiar scenes re-enacts the joys of his vanished youth.
Well, there is one; there was one soon after I took the chest back from your rooms to mine, in the good old days.
service in the good old days when mail-boats were square-rigged at least on two masts, and used to come down the China Sea before a fair monsoon with stun'-sails set alow and aloft.
But since Sir John has taken to attending the debates regularly, which he never used to do in the good old days, his language has become quite impossible.
I remember back in the good old days when I was a shop manager, the prices of all products were added up in my head and people paid with cash.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.