salad days

plural noun

: time of youthful inexperience or indiscretion
my salad days when I was green in judgmentWilliam Shakespeare
also : an early flourishing period : heyday

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When is someone in their salad days?

A good salad is fresh, crisp, and usually green. Those attributes are often associated (in both vegetables and people) with vitality and immaturity. The first English writer known to use salad days to associate the fresh greenness of salad with the vigor and recklessness of youth was William Shakespeare. In Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra praises Marc Antony's valor and demands that her serving woman do the same. When the servant instead praises her former consort, Caesar, Cleopatra threatens her—until the woman notes that she is only echoing Cleopatra's own effusive past praise of Caesar. Cleopatra's reply marks the first English use of salad days:

"My salad days,
When I was green in judgment, cold in blood,
To say as I said then."

Examples of salad days in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The video then cycles through a series of then-and-now pictures and videos of the band in their salad days and a sure-to-be-talked-about sequence in which archival shots of Lennon and Harrison are spliced in aside present-day McCartney and Starr in a recording session. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 3 Nov. 2023 But the Democratic congresswoman from Oakland, an A’s fan since Rickey Henderson’s salad days, is trying to flex her legislative muscles. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 12 Aug. 2023 Say goodbye to the salad days of the pandemic, when public cash was flowing like Niagara Falls. Staff Reports, cleveland, 10 Aug. 2023 In their salad days, the trio could hold their own on the court, once coming from 12-2 down in the last inning of an Open Division game to pull off a win. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 July 2023 Even as Anton says, besides the return of vinyl, album covers never will have the salad days of the 1970s. Chris Willman, Variety, 19 June 2023 Mac DeMarco’s salad days really are gone — at least if the salads are cold. Vulture, 9 May 2023 Rooster & The Till enjoyed three-hour waits in its 37-seat salad days when the hipster-casual denizens of Seminole Heights went wild for an eatery unlike most of Tampa’s burgeoning 2017 culinary scene. Amy Drew Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 29 Mar. 2023 The salad days are over for companies like Lenovo, Dell, HP, Asus and others, though. Chris Morris, Fortune, 15 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'salad days.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of salad days was in 1606


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Cite this Entry

“Salad days.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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