once upon a time

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



  • IPA(key): /ˈwʌns.əˈpɒn.əˈtaɪ̯m/


once upon a time (not comparable)

  1. The traditional beginning of children’s stories, especially fairy tales.
  2. A long time ago (typically said of something that is not well remembered).
    I don't speak Spanish, but I could read it pretty well once upon a time.


Note: Many of the translations are literally “There once was”. The translation of “Once upon a time, there was a princess” into Italian, for example, would therefore be “C’era una volta una principessa” (literally, “There was once a princess”) rather than the literal “C’era una volta c’era una principessa”, which would mean “There was once there was a princess” [sic].

External links[edit]