Apple of my eye is a phrase that means a person treasures one thing over another; being very fond of someone or something.
Example: I have several cats. They all have their own unique personalities and I care about each of them. However, one in particular is named Simon and he’s the apple of my eye. Yes, even with all of his health problems, he’s still my favorite of the bunch.
Synonyms: cherish, treasure, hold dear, the light of one’s life
The Origin of ‘Apple Of My Eye’
The expression “apple of my eye” did not always have its modern day meaning of “to cherish something.” Long ago, this phrase was used as a bodily term. More specifically, the “apple” referred to the pupil of the eye. I guess I can see some of the similarities between them—they are both… round.
So, how old is this idiom? It’s earliest known appearance is said to be from a work by King Alfred of Wessex called Gregory’s Pastoral Care, around 880 C.E. However, all I could find of this work was a translation of it, and when I searched, I could not find the idiom anywhere within it. The only related words I found were “pupil of the eye.” In the original work, those words probably appeared as “apple of the eye” but were later changed for the translation.
Besides that, this saying appears in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, written in 1595/96:
Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid’s archery,
Sink in apple of his eye.
So, if this phrase does go back to the 9th century as it is believed, that means its origin is over 1100 years old.
Examples Of ‘Apple Of My Eye’
- I am very fond of Aika, she’s the apple of my eye.
- Whenever I’m at Brian’s house, I can tell that he holds his wife dear. Yes, she’s the apple of his eye.
- Those kids are the light of his life, I’m not sure what he would do without them.
- She cherishes those pictures of her husband because they remind her of the good times.
Speaking of eye related sayings, have you heard of this one before? If not, now’s your chance to learn all about its meaning and origin.