"The Before Time" is a reference to the 1966 Star Trek episode "Miri" in which the Enterprise encounters a planet inhabited only by children, due to a pandemic infecting and eventually killing all the adults. The children refer to "the before time" as the time when adults were present.

This episode was parodied in the South Park Episode "Wacky Molestation Adventure" in which the children claim to be molested and are subsequently removed from their adult guardians.

In 2020, the phrase has come to mean the time before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, when people could freely associate and go to bars and parties.
"In "The Before Time" we had a buffet lunch every day. Now we just stare at each other over zoom.
by neurosmash September 9, 2020
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'The Before Time' is now used to reference the era proceeding the virus apocalypse of 2020.

While commonly believed to originate from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, this is a classic Mandela Effect misperception of history. No video exists of any character in the film ever using that phrase.

Rather, South Park Season 4, episode 16 parodies Beyond Thunderdome, and is the true origin of the saying.
In The Before Time we had an actual society. Jobs, parties, sports, schools, and other public gatherings were once normal and common.
by 5PercentRainMan July 5, 2020
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Phrase from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, used by the children born after societal collapse in referring to the time before.

Also occurs in South Park's "Wacky Molestation Adventure," as a cultural reference to Mad Max, as the kids cause society to collapse in the episode after claiming that every adult in town molested them.
People were happy in the before time, the long long ago.
by ItsnotFROMsouthparkmoron August 1, 2017
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A phrase referring to the age of mankind before the advent of the internet and/or before advanced data mining, search engines and online resources (especially Google, Wikipedia, etc.) made information widely available and convenient; i.e. when people had to do research manually via libraries, card-catalogs, paper books and reference materials such a Encylcopaedia.

Also jokingly referred to as "the before time, the long long ago" referencing the cultural memes of Star Wars and the 64th episode of South Park.
Well son, in "the before time", finding out answers to questions was a lot more difficult, it could take hours or even days to research topics and had to be done by physically going to a local library!
by triple butt October 23, 2010
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Everything before about Feb 2020 when covid became a worldwide phenomenon
Tucker: Yo remember when we used to get drunk and hang?

Dave: Yea the before times were so dope
Dave and Tucker: *Silently think about how apocalyptic things are*
by Well Education October 27, 2020
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Before COVID-19.
We used to go to the same club in 2019 in the before times.

Ignorance was bliss in January 2020 in the “Before Times”
by TashiC March 21, 2021
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The time preceding a major shitty phase in ones life. You don’t think much of it in the moment, but once you’re past it and you’ve entered the bad phase of life, the before times come back to haunt you, angry that you weren’t grateful for them. You get this intense feeling of despair, you’d do ANYTHING to go back to the before times. But that’s the thing, once they’re gone, you can only move forward.
The whole world in 2020 now remembers 2019 as the Before Times.
by Xxxxxxxxfanboyxxxxxxxxxx December 21, 2020
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