What is an interjection/expression to use to express nostalgia?

I was listening to a song which reminded me of my adolescent days, feeling nostalgic for those times. Are there kinds of nostalgia? What interjection/expression can be used for expressing nostalgia in different contexts?

  • 2
    Can you please provide some context? How do you want to use this 'interjection'? Interjections are usually fairly general - happy, angry, sympathetic, sarcastic. Something more nuanced, like nostalgia, may not have a specific interjection. But if you provide the sentence/context, we may be better able to help you. Commented May 13, 2014 at 1:34
  • Ah. I cannot think of an interjective context in which Ah would be inappropriate. If you want to lend it an exotic or fin-de-siècle (siècle-before-last, that is) decadent flavour, you may spell it Â. Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:14
  • I suppose “Faint wistful sighs and falling tears / As agèd eyes mourn yesteryears.” is a trifle long to count as pure interjection.
    – tchrist
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:33
  • @ermanen because it's still primarily opinion-based. Commented May 14, 2014 at 9:24
  • Hmm..the tone may have appeared opinionated because I said 'does the context matter?', but I intended it to be an open question. Commented May 14, 2014 at 22:19

6 Answers 6


Those were the days fits for all contexts.

Usually with "Ah" in the beginning of the expression. Sometimes, "Man" is used in the beginning also.

something you say that means life was better at the time in the past that you are talking about:

We were young and madly in love. Ah, those were the days!

  • +1 But it's the Ah that makes it. :) Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:14
  • Thanks..How about Ha! which is kind of a positive appreciation of some past event ? Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:47
  • Ha! is usually used for surprise or joy. So my answer can be applied to your example also, it is a very common expression.
    – ermanen
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:52
  • youtube.com/watch?v=1F9vRVyV914 Ah nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
    – Neil W
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 14:17

Ah, petites madeleines!

By way of allusion to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.


'Fings ain't wot they used ter be!'

Preferably with the incumbent dance steps as shown here. See from:0:48


A 'glorious revival' is how this production is nostalgically itself described. Stratford Theatre is in London's East End, which is a Cockney area, as you can hear in the accents.

It's another way of saying 'everything's changed!'



Types of nostalgia:

  1. Restorative nostalgia, as Boym describes it, “puts emphasis on nostos (returning home) and proposes to rebuild the lost home and patch up the memory gaps.”

Restorative nostalgia, involving a desire to “rebuild the lost home,” views the past with an eye toward recreating it—a desire to relive those special moments. It is what spurs us to pull out our phone at 1 a. m. and call up an old boyfriend or girlfriend because we just heard “our song” on the radio.

  1. Reflective nostalgia, on the other hand, “dwells in algia (aching), in longing and loss, the imperfect process of remembrance.”

Reflective nostalgia, on the other hand, accepts the fact that the past is, in fact, past, and rather than trying to recreate a special past experience, savors the emotions evoked by its recollection.


There are two different types of nostalgia. Restorative nostalgia is when you feel like things used to be better and you long to relive the past, and reflective nostalgia is when you feel wistful about how different things used to be, but you maintain a sense of amused acceptance.

Oof! The song summoned such vivid recollections of the past that I was momentarily stunned by the sweet force of them.


I got faced with the same question when I tried to translate the following phrase from Afrikaans into English:

"Ja nee wat, dit was darm lekker ou dae daardie." "Yes no what, it was though nice old days that". (word by word translation)

In Afrikaans, "ja nee", " ja nê" and "nee wat" are all possible interjections to express nostalgia (but can also be used in many other contexts), and in my example above, stands completely separate from the actual words expressing a longing to the dreamy good old days of the distant past.

My best suggestions for expressing nostalgia (in the context of the above) would be a sighful: "Yeah" or "Ah"

Closest translation that still carries the sentiment:

After Jacob recounted some wild childhood adventures they had and all thing things they got away with, Pat nostalgically replied "Yeah! You are right! No, I agree! Those were the good old days!"


A conversation:

  • You'll see, your friends will visit you.
  • I wish.

The phrase "I wish" (or wordy "I wish it were true") may signify nostalgia or else feelings still like nostalgic.

However, "you'd wish" would be much less so, it'd rather mean distrust or it may even be sarcastic.

  • While 'I wish' might involve some nostalgia, it isn't necessarily the case, so it wouldn't be safe to recommend it as a general expression of nostalgic feelings. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 6:36
  • @KillingTime, * it isn't necessarily the case*" -- but that's what I have written above (see: or else). ###### I am not sure if there are any expressions which would cover the whole notion of nostalgia and not more than that. General phrases have to go beyond the domain, I'd think.
    – Wlod AA
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 7:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.