Yesterday my hubby called our daughter “The apple of my eye,” and she looked at us like we were off our rocker. “The apple? How does an eye have an apple?”

Good question, my girl. Good question. =)

The word apple has been in English as long as there was English to be in…but in a much broader sense than you might think. It applied to all fruit, even including nuts and berries. This was true as late as the 1600s. (So translating Genesis with the forbidden fruit being an apple was being rather vague, really…)

As for “apple of the eye”–it was literally the pupil, which people thought was a solid thing; but by calling it the apple, they were saying it represented that which was most treasured or cherished. It’s a phrase that comes from Old English too, in which case, it shouldn’t be too surprising, since all fruit in an area belonged to the lord in the days of serfdom, and commoners seldom tasted it.

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