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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.

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    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

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Hard times.

Those were hard times back then.

To have it tough.

My grandparents had it tough.

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"Back in cave-man days"

"Back in the stone age"

"Back in the Dark Ages"

"Medieval."

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

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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.

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

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