once upon a time Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of “once upon a time” in the English Dictionary

"once upon a time" in British English

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once upon a time

B1 used at the ​beginning of children's ​stories to ​mean "a ​longtime ago": Once upon a ​time there was an ​uglyduckling. used when referring to something that ​happened in the past, ​especially when ​showing that you ​feelsorry that it no ​longerhappens: Once upon a ​timepeopleknew the ​difference between ​right and ​wrong, but ​nowadays nobody ​seems to ​care.
(Definition of once upon a time from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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