the good old days

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
{Rocheaimard = both the Chateau and the family are fictitious; marechal du camp = general commanding a brigade; le bon vieux temps = the good old days; late King = Louis XVI, guillotined in 1793; en attendant=for the time being}
{dans de bon vieux temps = in the good old days; corbeille = wedding presents from a bridegroom; trousseau = wedding outfit}
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. Denisov, flushed after the mazurka and mopping himself with his handkerchief, sat down by Natasha and did not leave her for the rest of the evening.
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."
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.
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!
"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. You wouldn't think, to look at me, would you now, that I was once like the lily of the field?'
"You bet they didn't," Billy agreed "Them was the good old days. I'd liked to a-lived then." He drew a long breath and sighed.
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. You push one of the handles down - which no one ever does - and the whole of that end opens like the front of a doll's house.
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.
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).
Why do we always say and feel that the bygone days were 'the good old days'?