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." – Mike Harris May 3 '18 at 19:36
  • I thought "primordial" would be a good match. – Lerner Zhang May 19 '19 at 22:29

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"


"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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