Sometimes I use the phrase "back in the old days". I was recently in a class where the trainer kept using the phrase "olden days." Which usage is acceptable?
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"Old days" is possibly more correct — but "olden days" is a common saying.
In the Viking Old Norse language and in present-day Scandinavian languages, "the" is represented by adding "en" to the end of the word.
Olden seems to come from this usage, so "in olden days" has the same meaning as "in the old days." You would not say "in the olden days" because "the" is already represented by "en."
Even though this is English and not Old Norse, I think this rule should apply.
If one consults the OED entry for ‘olden’, one learns that ‘olden’ dates all the way back to Cursor Mundi itself, hardly a Victorian tome. It’s also in Piers Ploughman and Shakespeare.
The proper citation for that entry is:
The trivia tidbit that is missing here is that 'old' in ME was also a noun meaning old folks "the olden'' or ancient times. Send æfter þine wiue & æfter þine children, þan ᵹungen & þan olden.
It was also a plural adjective. Why does this plural form still stand when ouren (our) and eyen (eyes) fell out? (But oxen stayed.) It may be owing to the fact that it was both a plural noun and a plural adjective form ... or it just may be that folks liked it!
(Literary) If you refer to a period in the past as the olden days, you feel affection for it. We had a delightful time talking about the olden days on his farm. ...the nicely painted railways of olden times.
by the app of dictionary.com
protected by tchrist Mar 5 '15 at 0:02
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