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Apple Sayings: Where The Heck Did They Come From?


The Origins of Apple Quotes

"You are the apple of my eye"

"As American as apple pie"

"An apple a day . . ."

Have you ever wondered where these apple sayings originated? Well I did. So I did a bit of research and this is what I found . . .


"An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away"

Derived from the old English saying . . . "Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, make the doctor beg his bread," the original author of this most popular apple saying has been lost to history.

Today, the expression rings truer than ever, as our knowledge of apples' many and myriad health benefits increases. Source:


"As American As Apple Pie"

Americans may profess to have invented this quintessentially American dessert, but history books trace pie as far back as 14th Century England. Pie-making skills, along with apple seeds, came over with the Pilgrims, and as the country prospered the rather slim apple pie of colonial times became the deep-dished extravaganza we enjoy today.

Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, apple pie became the symbol of American prosperity, causing one American newspaper to proclaim in 1902, "No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished." Source:


"Upper Crust" (As In Apple Pie)

In early America, when times were hard and cooking supplies were scarce, cooks often had to scrimp and save on ingredients.

Apple pie was a favorite dish, but to save on lard and flour, only a bottom crust was made. More affluent households could afford both an upper and a lower crust, so those families became known as "the upper crust." Source:


"Apple Polisher"

The custom of "apple polishing" hails from the little red schoolhouses of yore. Young children whose math skills were less than exemplary sought to win their teacher's favor instead with a gift of a bright, shiny apple. Remember this ditty? "An apple for the teacher will always do the trick when you don't know your lesson in arithmetic."


"Adam's Apple"

This physiological terminology sprung from the conception that the protuberance on a man's throat was caused by a piece of forbidden apple from the Garden of Eden's Tree of Knowledge lodged in Adam's throat, rather than the thyroid cartilage of the larynx. Source:


New York . . . "The Big Apple"

Two different stories . . . and here they are . . .

This nickname for one of our nation's greatest cities, New York, dates from the 1930s and '40s, when jazz jived in clubs across the country. The smokey clubs of New York City were the favorite hotspots of the likes of Charlie Parker and other jazz greats, and Manhattan soon became known for having "lots of apples on the tree" - that is, lots of places to play jazz. Source:

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Another source states:

The Big Apple is a nickname or moniker for New York City. It was first popularized in the 1920s by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is due to a promotional campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, known now as NYC & Company. Source: Wikipedia


"Apple of My Eye"

This expression dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, when people conceived of the pupil of the eye to be, like the apple, a global object.

The word itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon "aeppel", which literally meant both "eye" and "apple." In addition to providing the literal, vital sense of vision, the pupil was also regarded as the figurative "window" to the treasured secrets within each of us. Thus, the "apple of my eye" meant someone very beloved.


How Do You Like Them Apples? - Have You Enjoyed The Explanations For These Apple Sayings?

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on October 05, 2013:

Fun idea for a lens! Now I have a taste for apple pie...

Stephen Bush from Ohio on January 31, 2013:

I never met an apple I didn't like (this includes my computers).

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on January 28, 2013:

What a nice lens:)

Joanie Ruppel from Keller, Texas on January 21, 2013:

We are a big Apple family - as in computers!

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on January 20, 2013:

Very cute lens.

Celticep from North Wales, UK on January 17, 2013:

I love finding out about the origins of words and sayings! Thanks for sharing these apple-licious gems :-)

Stephanie from Canada on January 09, 2013:

I've never thought about it, but there are an awful lot of apple sayings, aren't there? Thanks for sharing what you found!

cmadden on December 13, 2012:

Fun lens!

Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on December 10, 2012:

Awesome Lens! I'm a BIG fan of apple everything!

Sher Ritchie on August 07, 2012:

Absolutely! I had no idea why NY was called "Big Apple", and the origin of "upper crust" is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

mirkodega on February 03, 2012:

Fun interesting read!

Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on November 17, 2011:

I had fun reading this lens! Thanks!

jasminesphotogr on October 04, 2011:

This is awesome. What an interesting lens.

Johann The Dog from Northeast Georgia on August 30, 2011:

How fun!!! I love apples, sans skin and seeds of course! Nom...nom...

KDimmick on January 18, 2011:


dessertlover on October 28, 2010:

I had never realized we have so many Apple sayings! Fun lens, it's always interesting to see where they originate from!

Tamara14 on October 27, 2010:

Great lens! I've learned a lot. Thanks for sharing:-)

anonymous on October 24, 2010:

As the Granddaughter of the best pastry maker in the UK, I always disputed that "American as Apple Pie" saying :) Fun lens!

DecoratingEvents on October 24, 2010:

This was a fun Lens! I love reading the origin of sayings we use everyday. Unique and interesting!

dustytoes on October 23, 2010:

I can't believe that I never wondered about these sayings. The explanations are very interesting. I am reminded also to make that pie, and mine will have an "upper crust".

anonymous on October 22, 2010:

What fun! Although these apple sayings have been around for so long...I never knew their origin. Very cool lens!

kimmanleyort on October 22, 2010:

Love this lens! I learned something here and so, decided to review it at Squidoo Lens Reviews. Stop by to pick up a badge if you'd like.

julieannbrady on September 17, 2010:

Yeah yeah yeah ... I was JUST thinking that very saying the other day i.e. How do YOU like them apples .... hmmm! You had to be there! ;)

K Bechand from NY on September 05, 2010:

Well Happy Apple Season ! I enjoyed this lens, didn't know where those words every came from, but yes found myself saying them ... :O) (You have a new fan!)

lasertek lm on August 02, 2010:

Like this lens! It is informative and fun to read. I could use these explanations when I hear people saying one or all of these sayings.

anonymous on January 12, 2010:

"How's your apple butter?" was a common greeting among the womenfolk in our family.

Seeking Pearls from Pueblo West on August 30, 2009:

Fun interesting read!

GrowWear on August 27, 2009:

Very nice read! Love apple pie -- with both upper and lower crust. :)

Bambi Watson on August 27, 2009:

very cool!

Alisha Vargas from Reno, Nevada on August 26, 2009:

What a delicious lens! It's so interesting finding out the meanings to all these different sayings that we've all heard for years!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on August 26, 2009:

All apples are excellent! Your pie pictures always makes me hungry. Great Lens!

CleanerLife on August 26, 2009:

I'm hungry for some apple pie now! :)

anonymous on August 26, 2009:

This was great, Dee!

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