well or fine; under control.
the usually round, red or yellow, edible fruit of a small tree, Malus sylvestris, of the rose family.
the tree, cultivated in most temperate regions.
the fruit of any of certain other species of tree of the same genus.
any of these trees.
any of various other similar fruits, or fruitlike products or plants, as the , , , or .
anything resembling an apple in size and shape, as a ball, especially a baseball.
Bowling. an ineffectively bowled ball.
Slang. a red capsule containing a barbiturate, especially secobarbital.
Contemporary Examples

Squash, potatoes, cabbages, root vegetables perfect for roasting…and apples, apples, apples.
The Perfect Apple Dessert September 27, 2010

Being disinhibited about apples and salads is a sure benefit to weight loss.
The New Fat Hazard Susan B. Roberts June 25, 2009

apples contain an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin, while red wine contains the flavonoid catechin.
10 Power Food Combos Divya Gugnani March 17, 2010

Around 8,000 years ago, apples began to surface in trade routes and began to pass through Central Asia.
What the Pilgrims Drank on Thanksgiving Jordan Salcito November 27, 2013

Comparing Iraq and Afghanistan with Syria is apples and oranges, Kaufman argued.
Biden Serves Up 2016 Speculation With a Side of Steak David Catanese September 15, 2013

Historical Examples

When he awoke it was morning, and all the apples were gone from the tree.
Fairy Tales from Many Lands Katherine Pyle

Winter pears, however, may be stored, for they keep like apples.
Woman’s Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5 Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

My trees are troubled with canker-worm, but not bad, and my apples with codling-moth.
The Apple Various

It was suggested by a plate of apples that he happened to spy on the mantel-piece.
The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne

Advertising Minnesota apples has been attempted this past year.
Trees, Fruits and Flowers of Minnesota, 1916 Various

plural noun
See apples and pears
(Austral & NZ, informal) she’s apples, all is going well
a rosaceous tree, Malus sieversii, native to Central Asia but widely cultivated in temperate regions in many varieties, having pink or white fragrant flowers and firm rounded edible fruits See also crab apple
the fruit of this tree, having red, yellow, or green skin and crisp whitish flesh
the wood of this tree
any of several unrelated trees that have fruits similar to the apple, such as the custard apple, sugar apple, and May apple See also love apple, oak apple, thorn apple
apple of one’s eye, a person or thing that is very precious or much loved
bad apple, rotten apple, a person with a corrupting influence

Old English æppel “apple; any kind of fruit; fruit in general,” from Proto-Germanic *ap(a)laz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch appel, Old Norse eple, Old High German apful, German Apfel), from PIE *ab(e)l “apple” (cf. Gaulish avallo “fruit;” Old Irish ubull, Lithuanian obuolys, Old Church Slavonic jabloko “apple”), but the exact relation and original sense of these is uncertain (cf. melon).

A roted eppel amang þe holen, makeþ rotie þe yzounde. [“Ayenbite of Inwit,” 1340]

In Middle English and as late as 17c., it was a generic term for all fruit other than berries but including nuts (e.g. Old English fingeræppla “dates,” literally “finger-apples;” Middle English appel of paradis “banana,” c.1400). Hence its grafting onto the unnamed “fruit of the forbidden tree” in Genesis. Cucumbers, in one Old English work, are eorþæppla, literally “earth-apples” (cf. French pomme de terre “potato,” literally “earth-apple;” see also melon). French pomme is from Latin pomum “apple; fruit” (see Pomona).

As far as the forbidden fruit is concerned, again, the Quran does not mention it explicitly, but according to traditional commentaries it was not an apple, as believed by Christians and Jews, but wheat. [“The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity,” Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 2002]

Apple of Discord (c.1400) was thrown into the wedding of Thetis and Peleus by Eris (goddess of chaos and discord), who had not been invited, and inscribed kallisti “To the Prettiest One.” Paris, elected to choose which goddess should have it, gave it to Aphrodite, offending Hera and Athene, with consequences of the Trojan War, etc.

Apple of one’s eye (Old English), symbol of what is most cherished, was the pupil, supposed to be a globular solid body. Apple-polisher “one who curries favor” first attested 1928 in student slang. The image of something that upsets the apple cart is attested from 1788. Road apple “horse dropping” is from 1942.

Related Terms

how do you like them apples


A ball, esp a baseball
A street or district where excitement may be found (1930s+ Jazz musicians)
Any large town or city (1930s+ Jazz musicians)
A Native American who has taken on the values and behavior of the white community; uncle tomahawk

Related Terms

alley apple, the big apple, horse apple, smart apple, sure as god made little green apples, swallow the apple, wise guy

(Heb. tappuah, meaning “fragrance”). Probably the apricot or quince is intended by the word, as Palestine was too hot for the growth of apples proper. It is enumerated among the most valuable trees of Palestine (Joel 1:12), and frequently referred to in Canticles, and noted for its beauty (2:3, 5; 8:5). There is nothing to show that it was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Dr. Tristram has suggested that the apricot has better claims than any other fruit-tree to be the apple of Scripture. It grows to a height of 30 feet, has a roundish mass of glossy leaves, and bears an orange coloured fruit that gives out a delicious perfume. The “apple of the eye” is the Heb. _ishon_, meaning manikin, i.e., the pupil of the eye (Prov. 7:2). (Comp. the promise, Zech. 2:8; the prayer, Ps. 17:8; and its fulfilment, Deut. 32:10.) The so-called “apple of Sodom” some have supposed to be the Solanum sanctum (Heb. hedek), rendered “brier” (q.v.) in Micah 7:4, a thorny plant bearing fruit like the potato-apple. This shrub abounds in the Jordan valley. (See ENGEDI.)

apple a day
apple of one’s eye
apple polisher

also see:

polish the apple
rotten apple
upset the applecart


Read Also:

  • Apples and oranges

    Unlike objects or persons, as in Assessing the problems of the neighborhood grocery by examining a giant supermarket is comparing apples and oranges. This metaphor for dissimilarity began as apples and oysters, which appeared in John Ray’s proverb collection of 1670. It is nearly always accompanied by a warning that one cannot compare such different […]

  • Apples and pears

    plural noun (Cockney, rhyming slang) stairs Often shortened to apples

  • Apples of the hesperides

    the golden apples given to Hera as a wedding gift. They were in the safekeeping of the Hesperides and of the dragon Ladon.

  • Apples to oranges

    noun an unfair comparison, as between things that cannot be evaluated according to the same criteria noun phrase An unfair comparison

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