Apple Of My Eye


What is the meaning of the phrase apple of my eye? It means a person treasures one thing over another. In other words, they are very fond of someone or something in particular.

Example: I have several cats. They all have their own unique personalities and I care about each of them. However, one in particular is the apple of my eye, his name is Simon. Despite all of the health problems he faces, he is still my favorite of the group.
Synonyms / Related Phrases:
Cherish, hold dear, the light of one’s life, treasure
Phrases - The apple of my eye

The Origin of ‘Apple Of My Eye’

Today, the meaning of the expression ‘apple of my eye’ has to do with cherishing someone or something. But did you know that a long time ago, this phrase referred to a part of the body? What part, you ask? I’ll give you a second to guess, but the apple of the eye actually referred to the pupil of the eye! Can you think of any similarities between the two? The only one I could think of is their round shape.

Anyway, 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 through it for the idiom, I could not find it anywhere. 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.

In summary, if this phrase goes back to the 9th century as it is believed, that means its origin is over 1100 years old. Otherwise, we see it used in a Shakespearean play from the 16th century, so we know it is at least 425 years old.

Sentence Examples of ‘Apple Of My Eye’

Here are a couple sentences for this idiom:

  • Emily is the apple of my eye, indeed, I am very fond of her.
  • Whenever I’m at Brian’s house, I can tell that he holds his wife dear. Yes, she’s the apple of his eye.

Synonym Examples:

  • Those kids are the light of his life, I’m not sure what he would do without them.
  • She cherishes the time she spends with her family.

See Also:

Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder

Speaking of another eye related saying, have you heard of this one before? If not, now’s your chance to learn all about its meaning and origin.

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