What Does 'Salad Days' Mean?


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Traditionally the term 'salad days' has been used to describe a period of youthful inexperience or indiscretion. The term itself stems from Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, where at the end of Act One, Cleopatra, expressing her regret about youthful dealings with Julius Caesar declares 'My salad days, When I was green in judgment'. This sentence itself is derived from the then already common use of the word 'green' to describe someone youthful, as in young green shoots (someone who is immature or inexperienced). Although Anthony and Cleopatra was written in 1606, the term 'salad days' did not become popular until the middle on the nineteenth century.

Interestingly, in more recent days, the term 'salad days' has also been used to describe a period of ones life when they were at the peak of their abilities or earning power, their heyday, which should be pointed out is not necessarily connected to their youthfulness.

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