The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Meaning:

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is a phrase that is typically said in connection with children who show qualities or talents that are similar to those of their parents.

Example: Dan was an older man with back problems, so he disliked having to carry in a car full of groceries. Lifting everything inside was such a pain! But one day when Dan returned from shopping, his neighbor came over to help. Then, the next time, the neighbor’s son helped to carry things inside.

Afterwards, Dan told the boy: “I see that the apple never falls far from the tree.” In other words, he was saying the boy was like his father—they were both nice and helpful.
Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. Like father, like son
2. Like two peas in a pod
An apple that did not fall far from the tree.

The Origin Of ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’

Let’s talk about the origin of the phrase ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’

At the bottom of an apple tree (or pretty much any fruit tree for that matter), you might see the fruit it produces laying on the ground. The fruit falls off the branches and drops to the ground, but it remains close to the tree it came from. This natural occurrence eventually turned into a metaphor and now today, it means that a person ‘is not far off from how their parents are.’

But who came up with this proverb?

Unfortunately, the exact person is not known. Moreover, the place where it originated from is not clear either. I have heard that this saying might have come from Asia, but it is hard to say for sure.

According to Richard Jenie, who wrote German Proverbs from the Orient, he mentions that this proverb makes an early appearance in the year 1585. That is old! The earliest I could find it in print is a little later than that, from 1605 in a book (named below) by Hieronymus Megiser. Multiple proverbs are listed in this book and on page 65, a part reads:

“Der Apffel fellt nicht weit vom Baum.”

(When translated from German to English, this says: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”)

This quote is from a book called (roughly translated): Aroemiologia Polyglottos: that is, Proverbs and opinions of different languages.

Anyway, if this proverb does go back to the year 1585, that means it is at least 430 years old.

Tip: For more sayings like this one, we have a list of common English phrases starting with “T” that you can explore. Check it out!


Examples Of ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’

Here are two examples of this expression in a sentence:

  • Your mother is a skilled pianist and from what I have heard, you are too! I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
  • Sarah was a kind person, always showing consideration for others. Her parents were the same way, so it seems that the apple never falls far from the tree, as the saying goes.

Did You Know?

Why does a fruit tree drop its fruit? This can happen for several reasons. For example, the weather. If the wind is blowing hard enough, it can cause fruit to fall. Another reason is the tree lacks water. If there is not enough to go around, the tree may drop some of its produce so it has enough to support the remaining ones.

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