salad days

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Coined by William Shakespeare, in Anthony and Cleopatra, act 1, scene 5:[1]

My salad days, when I was green in judgment.


salad days pl (plural only)

  1. A period of inexperienced youthful innocence accompanied by enthusiasm and idealism.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XX, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
      “I'll bet he was swiping things as a small boy.” “Only biscuits.” “I beg your pardon?” “Or crackers you would call them, wouldn't you? He was telling me he occasionally pinched a cracker or two in his salad days.”
    • 2015 Sir Malcolm Murray, Penny Dreadful s2e6, 23m30s
      Do you know I've not been to a ball in ages? I used to be quite the dancer in my salad days, if you can believe such a thing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jack, Albert (2005). Red herrings and white elephants: the origins of the phrases we use everyday. HarperCollins. page 44. →ISBN. “The phrase is a simple one with a simple origin provided, once again, by Shakespeare.”