once upon a time
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- The traditional beginning of children's stories, especially fairy tales.
- A long time ago (typically said of something that is not well remembered).
- 2012, Christoper Zara, chapter 2, in Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds:
- Long before popular music evolved its many genres and subgenres, the industry was driven by a simple one-size-fits-all philosophy […] Songwriters, once upon a time, wrote songs for the masses.
- 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”).
traditional beginning of children’s stories, especially fairy tales