It is said that "in the old days" means especially "in the good old days". But are there any phrases meaning the opposite(bad old days)? When things were very tough and/or primitive/antediluvian?

I can think of "in the iron age", but I'd like to know if there exist other common sayings which are more native.

  • 1
    I have heard it phrased exactly that way: "in the bad old days." May 3, 2018 at 19:36
  • I thought "primordial" would be a good match. May 19, 2019 at 22:29

4 Answers 4


Hard times.

Those were hard times back then.

To have it tough.

My grandparents had it tough.


"Back in cave-man days"

"Back in the stone age"

"Back in the Dark Ages"


"When I was a kid, we had to walk to school. On a dirt road. Uphill. Both ways. In the snow."


I've heard "bad old days" used from time to time, in a deliberate/humorous inversion of "good old days".

"Back in the dark ages" is more established, and does not necessarily refer to the historical period called The Dark Ages.


"In the days of yore when bastards ruled the roost". Colloquial.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .