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Apple Sayings: Where The Heck Did They Come From?

Updated on August 30, 2017

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:

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?

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    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

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

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

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

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      What a nice lens:)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      We are a big Apple family - as in computers!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Very cute lens.

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

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

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago from Canada

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

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Fun lens!

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 5 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

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

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      mirkodega 5 years ago

      Fun interesting read!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      I had fun reading this lens! Thanks!

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      This is awesome. What an interesting lens.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

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

    • profile image

      KDimmick 7 years ago


    • profile image

      dessertlover 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Tamara14 7 years ago

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

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      anonymous 7 years ago

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

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 7 years ago

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

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 7 years ago

      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".

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      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! ;)

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 7 years ago

      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 profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

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

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 8 years ago from Pueblo West

      Fun interesting read!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

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

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      very cool!

    • AlishaV profile image

      Alisha Vargas 8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

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

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

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

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This was great, Dee!