salad days

salad days

noun (used with a plural verb)

  1. a period of youthful inexperience: a man who never lost the immature attitudes of his salad days.

pl n

  1. a period of youth and inexperience

A time of youth and inexperience; often, a better and more innocent time. The expression comes from William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, where Cleopatra says her early infatuation with Julius Caesar was foolish: “My salad days, when I was green in judgment.” (“Green” refers both to inexperience and to the color of a salad.) The time of youth, innocence, and inexperience, as in Back in our salad days we went anywhere at night, never thinking about whether it was safe or not. This expression, alluding to the greenness of inexperience, was probably invented by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra (1:5), when Cleopatra, now enamored of Antony, speaks of her early admiration for Julius Caesar as foolish: “My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood.”

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