auld lang syne

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From Scots auld lang syne ‎(old long ago), popularized by the song "Auld Lang Syne" with words by Robert Burns.


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auld lang syne ‎(uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) Days gone by; former times.
    • 1849, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, Wordsworth Editions (ISBN 9781853260643), page 358
      That 'auld lang syne' had still its authority both with preceptor and scholar was proved by the manner in which he sometimes promptly passed the distance she usually maintained between them, and put down her high reserve with a firm, quiet hand.
    • 1861, Mrs Beeton's Household Management, Wordsworth Editions (ISBN 9781840222685), page 518
      Diners a la Russe may possibly, erewhile, save modern gentlemen the necessity of learning the art which was in auld lang syne one of the necessary accomplishments of the youthful squire [...]
    • 1928, Percy Grainger, Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger, Oxford University Press (ISBN 9780190294090)
      It is in 'auld lang syne' that we who are dead find our full despotic kingdom at last — that oneness of sway that even the truest, sweetest love can never assure us of while living.



Cognate to the English "old long since" – for more information, see auld, lang and syne. Popularized by Robert Burns, but the phrase predates his version of the poem "Auld Lang Syne".[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈɔːl(d) lɑŋˈsəin/


auld lang syne (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) Days gone by; former times.
    • 1788, Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne
      Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
      and never brought to mind ?
      Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
      and auld lang syne
    • 1829, "The German of Heine", The Edinburgh literary journal; or, Weekly register of criticism and belles lettres, page 111
      Her little sister told me,
      The pup of auld lang syne,
      Had grown a growling mastiff,
      And fallen into the Rhine.
    • 1867, Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell, The Living Age ..., page 385
      And when I'm cutting, and stitching, and hammering,, at the window, and dreaming o' auld lang syne, and fechting my battles ower again, and when I think o' this and that awra' time that I have seen wi' brave comrades noo lying in some neuk in Spain


  1. ^ "Broadside ballad entitled 'Old Long Syne'",