once upon a time



  • IPA(key): /ˈwʌns.əˈpɒn.əˈtaɪ̯m/


once upon a time (not comparable)

  1. The traditional beginning of children's stories, especially fairy tales.
  2. 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”).

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