A word for 'A simpler time', or 'sadly fond of or amused by', (but not melancholy) I'm trying to describe the naivety of seeing the internet referred to in a newspaper article from the mid 90's as the 'world wide web' and how silly that sounds now, and how different perhaps in a positive way it was a then.

  • And now I'm fondly, yet sadly remembering the angry protestations back then that the "World Wide Web" was a proper subset of "the Internet"...
    – user888379
    Feb 27, 2019 at 19:08

4 Answers 4


I'd recommend nostalgic, which Merriam-Webster defines as:

longing for or thinking fondly of a past time or condition

  • I agree, that would be the obvious choice, but it doesn't quite cover the emotion I'm after. Humorous naivety in some way, maybe childlike would work...
    – user338092
    Feb 27, 2019 at 18:28

If you don't like nostalgic (which actually sounds like a good fit to me), how about pensive?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

"musingly or dreamily thoughtful" and "suggestive of sad thoughtfulness."


You can use 'yearning for the past'.

The yearning meaning is: -A feeling of intense longing for something.

See these videos about it: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yearning+for+the+past


Would "optimistic anticipation" or "naïve optimism" be ideas that capture the sense in the right direction? Looking back, these short phrases seem "young" simplistic but true, yet also somehow "sad". I would suggest "quaint" to capture it in a single word.


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