Nostalgic Vocabulary Phrases for The Good Ol' Days

Over the weekend, I watched a movie from my youth with my son, and it got me thinking about nostalgia.

The word ‘nostalgia’ itself has an interesting history!

Nostalgia’ was coined in 1668, as a combination of two Greek roots: ‘algos’ meaning ‘pain, distress’ and ‘nostos’ meaning ‘homecoming’.

Through the late 1700’s, ‘nostalgia’ described severe homesickness, and was looked at as an actual disease. source

In the 1900’s, the term changed into its modern meaning, which is not as dramatic!

In fact, ‘nostalgia’ has a certain positive connotation, a wistful look at how the past was better in some way than the present.

Here are some more lovely phrases we use to describe the past:

The good ol’ days- (Instead of ‘the good old days’) Use this phrase to describe a point in the past that was better than today in some way.

Days gone by- This sounds a bit more formal, but can be used in everyday conversation to describe a period of time finished in the past.

The golden era of…- This phrase is also used to describe a period of time which was the best in some respect, like, “The 1960’s was the golden era of rock n’ roll.


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Heyday- Although not as common a term, this is used in the same fashion as ‘golden era’.

You could say, “Although not as influential as their heyday in the 1990’s, indie movies still play an important role in cinema today.

A bast from the past- This is an older idiom but it is still used today. You use this to describe a specific thing that reminds you of the past- a person or a song, for instance.

If you’re listening to the radio and a song from when you were a teenager comes on, you could say, “Whoa! A blast from the past! I haven’t heard this since I was in high school!”

Pop Culture R&R

The movie which sparked my nostalgic mood was Mrs. Doubtfire!

It came out in 1993 and starred the late, great Robin Williams.

It’s about a family dealing with divorce, and the dad, Robin Williams, dresses like a woman to work as a nanny so he can see his children more.

Sure, there are dramatic scenes that pull at your heart strings, but it’s also hilarious.

There’s a scene in which the family goes to a restaurant, and the host says, “Smoking or non-smoking?

My son, who is 7, was flabbergasted, looking at me with huge eyes, “They could smoke in restaurants?! What?!”

What are you nostalgic about?

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