Top 35 Slang For Past – Meaning & Usage

The past is a treasure trove of memories and experiences, and what better way to explore it than through the lens of slang? Delve into our listicle to uncover the colorful and vibrant slang terms that capture the essence of bygone eras. From groovy 70s lingo to rad 90s phrases, we’ve got you covered with the coolest slang for the past. So, hop on board and take a trip down memory lane with us!

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1. Back in the day

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past, usually a significant period or era. It is often used to reminisce about a time that is no longer present.

  • For example, “Back in the day, we used to walk to school uphill both ways.”
  • In a conversation about music, someone might say, “Back in the day, rock and roll was the dominant genre.”
  • A person discussing fashion trends might say, “Back in the day, bell-bottom pants were all the rage.”

2. Yesteryear

This word is used to refer to a time that has passed, often with a sense of nostalgia or longing for the past.

  • For instance, “During yesteryear, people relied on typewriters to write letters.”
  • In a discussion about technology, someone might say, “Yesteryear’s cell phones were much bulkier than today’s sleek smartphones.”
  • A person reminiscing about childhood might say, “Yesteryear was a simpler time, without the distractions of social media.”

3. Bygone days

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past that is no longer present or relevant. It carries a sense of nostalgia or longing for the past.

  • For example, “Bygone days were filled with handwritten letters and face-to-face conversations.”
  • In a conversation about transportation, someone might say, “Bygone days saw the rise of horse-drawn carriages.”
  • A person discussing societal changes might say, “Bygone days had different social norms and expectations.”

4. Olden days

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the distant past, often with a romanticized or idealized view.

  • For instance, “In the olden days, people relied on candles for lighting.”
  • In a discussion about entertainment, someone might say, “The olden days saw the rise of drive-in movie theaters.”
  • A person reminiscing about family traditions might say, “In the olden days, families gathered around the radio for evening entertainment.”

5. Once upon a time

This phrase is used to begin a story or narrative set in the past, often with a fairy tale or mythical connotation.

  • For example, “Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a brave knight.”
  • In a conversation about literature, someone might say, “Once upon a time, authors relied on typewriters to write their novels.”
  • A person reminiscing about childhood might say, “Once upon a time, children played outside until the streetlights came on.”

6. In days of yore

This phrase is used to refer to a time long ago, often with a sense of nostalgia or romanticism. It suggests a time before the present, when things were different or simpler.

  • For example, someone might say, “In days of yore, people used to gather around the fireplace to tell stories.”
  • When reminiscing about childhood, a person might say, “In days of yore, we used to play outside until the streetlights came on.”
  • A writer might use the phrase to set the tone for a historical novel, such as, “In days of yore, knights roamed the land in search of adventure.”

7. In the good old days

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past that is remembered fondly or considered better than the present. It often implies a sense of nostalgia and longing for the way things used to be.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the good old days, people knew their neighbors and looked out for each other.”
  • When talking about technology, a person might say, “In the good old days, we didn’t have smartphones and social media to distract us.”
  • A grandparent might tell a grandchild, “Back in the good old days, we used to walk to school uphill both ways!”

8. In former times

This phrase is used to refer to a time before the present, often with a neutral or matter-of-fact tone. It simply indicates that something occurred or was true in the past.

  • For example, a historian might say, “In former times, people relied on handwritten letters to communicate.”
  • When discussing changes in societal norms, someone might say, “In former times, it was considered inappropriate for women to wear pants.”
  • A person reflecting on the evolution of technology might say, “In former times, we had to use landline telephones to make calls.”

9. In ancient times

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the distant past, typically before written records were kept. It suggests a time that is far removed from the present and often carries a sense of mystery or intrigue.

  • For instance, a historian might say, “In ancient times, civilizations like the Egyptians and Greeks flourished.”
  • When discussing mythology or folklore, someone might say, “In ancient times, people believed in gods and goddesses who controlled the natural world.”
  • A person studying archaeology might say, “In ancient times, people built monumental structures like the pyramids without the aid of modern technology.”

10. In days of old

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past, often with a sense of nostalgia or a longing for the way things used to be. It suggests a time that is no longer present or relevant.

  • For example, someone might say, “In days of old, people relied on horses for transportation.”
  • When discussing traditions or customs, a person might say, “In days of old, it was customary for men to open doors for women.”
  • A writer might use the phrase to set the tone for a fairy tale, such as, “In days of old, there lived a brave knight who set out on a quest.”

11. In the old days

This phrase is used to refer to a time that is no longer current or relevant. It typically evokes a sense of nostalgia or a longing for the way things used to be.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the old days, we didn’t have smartphones and social media.”
  • When reminiscing about childhood, a person might say, “In the old days, we used to play outside until the street lights came on.”
  • A grandparent might share a story, saying, “In the old days, we had to walk five miles to school every day, rain or shine.”

12. In days gone by

This phrase is similar to “in the old days” and is used to refer to a time that has passed. It implies a sense of nostalgia or a recognition of how things have changed over time.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In days gone by, people used to communicate through handwritten letters.”
  • When discussing technological advancements, a person might say, “In days gone by, we didn’t have smartphones or the internet.”
  • A historian might use this phrase when talking about a specific era, saying, “In days gone by, the Industrial Revolution transformed society.”

13. In the olden days

This phrase is another way to refer to a time that is no longer current. It conveys a sense of nostalgia and can be used to compare the past to the present.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the olden days, people used to rely on horses for transportation.”
  • When discussing changes in fashion, a person might say, “In the olden days, women wore corsets and hoop skirts.”
  • A grandparent might share a memory, saying, “In the olden days, families used to gather around the radio for entertainment.”

14. In the days of our forefathers

This phrase is used to refer to a time when one’s ancestors or predecessors lived. It typically implies a sense of respect for the past and the traditions of previous generations.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the days of our forefathers, people relied on farming for their livelihood.”
  • When discussing political history, a person might say, “In the days of our forefathers, the Founding Fathers established the principles of democracy.”
  • A historian might use this phrase to emphasize the significance of a particular era, saying, “In the days of our forefathers, the Renaissance ushered in a period of great cultural and intellectual growth.”

15. In the days of yesteryear

This phrase is a poetic or nostalgic way to refer to a time that has passed. It is often used to evoke a sense of longing or romanticism for a bygone era.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the days of yesteryear, people traveled by horse and carriage.”
  • When discussing changes in entertainment, a person might say, “In the days of yesteryear, families gathered around the radio for their favorite shows.”
  • A writer might use this phrase to set the tone for a historical novel, saying, “In the days of yesteryear, knights roamed the land in search of adventure and honor.”

16. In the days of olden

This phrase is used to refer to a time long ago, usually in a nostalgic or romanticized way. It implies a sense of history or tradition.

  • For example, someone might say, “Back in the days of olden, people used to gather around the fire and tell stories.”
  • When reminiscing about the past, one might say, “In the days of olden, life was simpler and less complicated.”
  • A storyteller might begin a tale with, “In the days of olden, there was a brave knight who embarked on a quest.”

17. In the days of yore

Similar to “in the days of olden,” this phrase is used to refer to a time long ago. It has a more poetic or archaic feel, often used in literature or storytelling.

  • For instance, a historian might say, “In the days of yore, kings and queens ruled with absolute power.”
  • In a fantasy novel, the author might describe a mythical creature as “a creature from the days of yore.”
  • When discussing a bygone era, someone might say, “In the days of yore, people lived according to different customs and traditions.”

18. In the days of our ancestors

This phrase specifically refers to the time of our forefathers or earlier generations. It emphasizes a connection to our family history and heritage.

  • For example, when discussing family traditions, someone might say, “In the days of our ancestors, it was customary to celebrate harvest festivals.”
  • When researching genealogy, one might say, “In the days of our ancestors, people lived off the land and relied on their farming skills.”
  • A historian might study ancient civilizations and say, “In the days of our ancestors, great empires rose and fell.”

19. In the days of our grandparents

This phrase refers to a more recent period in history, specifically the time of our grandparents. It evokes a sense of nostalgia and personal connection.

  • For instance, when listening to stories from our grandparents, we might say, “In the days of our grandparents, life was very different from today.”
  • When discussing cultural changes, someone might say, “In the days of our grandparents, gender roles were more rigid.”
  • A person reflecting on their childhood might say, “In the days of our grandparents, we didn’t have smartphones or social media.”

20. In the days of our parents

Similar to “in the days of our grandparents,” this phrase refers to a more recent period in history, specifically the time of our parents. It highlights the generational differences and changes that have occurred.

  • For example, when comparing parenting styles, someone might say, “In the days of our parents, discipline was often stricter.”
  • When discussing technological advancements, a person might say, “In the days of our parents, computers were just starting to become popular.”
  • A person reflecting on societal shifts might say, “In the days of our parents, traditional gender roles were being challenged.”

21. In the days of our childhood

This phrase refers to the time period when we were children or in our early years of life.

  • For example, “In the days of our childhood, we used to play outside until the streetlights came on.”
  • When reminiscing about the past, someone might say, “Those were the good old days, in the days of our childhood.”
  • A person might reflect on their upbringing and say, “In the days of our childhood, we didn’t have smartphones or social media.”

22. In the days of our youth

This phrase refers to the time period when we were young, typically referring to the teenage years or early adulthood.

  • For instance, “In the days of our youth, we used to go on road trips with our friends.”
  • When discussing past experiences, someone might say, “I miss the freedom and carefree nature of the days of our youth.”
  • A person might reflect on their youthful adventures and say, “In the days of our youth, we were fearless and full of energy.”

23. In the days of our school years

This phrase refers to the time period when we were attending school, whether it be elementary, middle, or high school.

  • For example, “In the days of our school years, we used to walk to school with our friends.”
  • When sharing memories, someone might say, “I remember the pranks we used to pull in the days of our school years.”
  • A person might reflect on their academic journey and say, “In the days of our school years, we learned valuable lessons and formed lifelong friendships.”

24. In the days of our teenage years

This phrase refers to the time period when we were teenagers, typically between the ages of 13 and 19.

  • For instance, “In the days of our teenage years, we were rebellious and full of angst.”
  • When discussing coming of age experiences, someone might say, “I made some questionable fashion choices in the days of our teenage years.”
  • A person might reflect on their teenage adventures and say, “In the days of our teenage years, we were trying to find our identity and navigate the challenges of adolescence.”

25. In the days of old

This phrase refers to a time period that is long gone, often associated with a romanticized or nostalgic view of the past.

  • For example, “In the days of old, people used to rely on horse-drawn carriages for transportation.”
  • When discussing history, someone might say, “In the days of old, kings and queens ruled with absolute power.”
  • A person might reflect on the simplicity of life and say, “In the days of old, people didn’t have smartphones or the internet.”

26. In the ancient times

This phrase refers to a time period that is very old or from a distant past. It is used to describe events or customs that occurred in a time long ago.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the ancient times, people used to communicate through handwritten letters.”
  • When discussing history, one might say, “In the ancient times, civilizations relied on agriculture for survival.”
  • A historian might mention, “In the ancient times, many myths and legends were passed down through oral storytelling.”

27. In the distant past

This phrase is used to refer to a time period that is far removed from the present. It implies a significant amount of time has passed since the events being discussed.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the distant past, humans relied on hunting and gathering for sustenance.”
  • When discussing ancient civilizations, one might say, “In the distant past, the Egyptians built magnificent pyramids.”
  • A historian might note, “In the distant past, many cultures had their own unique writing systems.”

28. In the former times

This phrase is used to describe a time period that occurred before the present. It suggests a sense of nostalgia or a longing for the past.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the former times, people used to gather around the radio for entertainment.”
  • When discussing technological advancements, one might say, “In the former times, landline phones were the primary means of communication.”
  • A grandparent might reminisce, “In the former times, we didn’t have smartphones, but we still managed to have fun.”

29. In the long ago

This phrase refers to a time in the past that is distant or far removed from the present. It emphasizes the passage of a significant amount of time.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the long ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”
  • When discussing historical events, one might say, “In the long ago, ancient Rome was a powerful empire.”
  • A storyteller might begin a tale with, “In the long ago, there was a kingdom ruled by a wise king.”

30. In the olden times

This phrase is used to describe a time period that occurred in the past, usually many years ago. It is often used to evoke a sense of nostalgia or to contrast with the present.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the olden times, people relied on horse-drawn carriages for transportation.”
  • When discussing cultural traditions, one might say, “In the olden times, people celebrated harvest festivals to give thanks for a bountiful crop.”
  • An elder might recall, “In the olden times, we didn’t have smartphones, but we still managed to have fun.”

31. In the days of our elders

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past when older generations lived and experienced different cultural norms and traditions. It implies a sense of respect and admiration for the wisdom and knowledge of previous generations.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the days of our elders, people used to gather around the fireplace to tell stories.”
  • When discussing traditional practices, one might mention, “In the days of our elders, they used to celebrate harvest festivals with great enthusiasm.”
  • A person reminiscing about the past might say, “I miss the simplicity of life in the days of our elders.”

32. In the days of our predecessors

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past when previous generations lived and had influence. It suggests a connection and continuity with the past.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the days of our predecessors, people relied on handwritten letters to communicate.”
  • When discussing technological advancements, one might mention, “In the days of our predecessors, computers were massive machines that occupied entire rooms.”
  • A person reflecting on societal changes might say, “In the days of our predecessors, gender roles were more rigidly defined.”

33. In the days of our forerunners

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past when earlier generations lived and paved the way for future developments. It implies a sense of progress and evolution.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the days of our forerunners, people relied on horse-drawn carriages for transportation.”
  • When discussing scientific breakthroughs, one might mention, “In the days of our forerunners, the discovery of electricity revolutionized the world.”
  • A person reflecting on societal norms might say, “In the days of our forerunners, women’s suffrage was a major milestone.”

34. In the days of our progenitors

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past when our ancestors lived and shaped the world we know today. It emphasizes a connection to our roots and heritage.

  • For instance, someone might say, “In the days of our progenitors, people lived off the land and had a deep understanding of nature.”
  • When discussing cultural traditions, one might mention, “In the days of our progenitors, storytelling was a cherished art form.”
  • A person reflecting on family history might say, “In the days of our progenitors, our ancestors faced great hardships and persevered.”

35. In the days of our precursors

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past when earlier generations lived and set the foundation for subsequent developments. It implies a sense of progress and advancement.

  • For example, someone might say, “In the days of our precursors, people relied on typewriters for written communication.”
  • When discussing artistic movements, one might mention, “In the days of our precursors, the Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in classical arts.”
  • A person reflecting on technological changes might say, “In the days of our precursors, landline telephones were the primary means of long-distance communication.”
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