Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. A time of youth, innocence, and inexperience: "my salad days,/When I was green in judgment, cold in blood” ( Shakespeare).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A period of inexperienced youthful innocence accompanied by enthusiasm and idealism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. a period when a person is young and inexperienced.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the best time of youth

Etymologies

Coined by William Shakespeare.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined by William Shakespeare, in Anthony and Cleopatra, act 1, sc. 5: (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He had no childhood; his salad days were bitter herbs; his later life was one wild tempest of ambition frustrated, of love unsated or unreturned, of friendship misprized or thought to be misprized.

    The Love Affairs of Great Musicians

  • But the quality in Shelley and in George Sand which bewitched even the austere Matthew Arnold in his green and salad days is the poetising of that liberative eighteenth century philosophy into "beautiful idealisms" of a love emancipated from human limitations, a love exalted to the height of its gamut by the influences of nature, triumphantly seeking its own or shattered in magnificent despair.

    The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

Comments

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  • Refers to the days of carefree innocence and pleasure of one's youth.

    Origin: Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, 1606:

    CLEOPATRA: My salad days,
    When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
    To say as I said then! But, come, away;
    Get me ink and paper:
    He shall have every day a several greeting,
    Or I'll unpeople Egypt.

    September 15, 2007