What Does "apple Of My Eye" Even Mean? Apple Of My Eye

I vày not understand how the phrase "apple of my eye" connotes affection. Where và how did this phrase originate và how can it refer to something dear?


You are right, it refers idiomatically to something that resembles an apple, that is the central part of an eye.

According to lớn the Word Detective:

Before “apple of one’s eye” was used to mean “favorite,” it was used literally, as an anatomical term. The “apple of the eye” was the pupil, the aperture at the center of the human eye. At the time the phrase came into use, the pupil was erroneously thought lớn be a solid, round object, và it was called the “apple” because apples were the most commonly encountered spherical objects.

Bạn đang xem: What does "apple of my eye" even mean?

As English idioms go, “apple of one’s eye” is about as old as they get. It first appeared in print in the writings of King Aelfred way back in the ninth century, and crops up, in the modern sense of “cherished favorite,” in both the King James Bible (numerous times) and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

From the Phrase Finder:

Originally meaning the central aperture of the eye. Figuratively it is something, or more usually someone, cherished above others.


"The táo of my eye" is exceedingly old and first appears in Old English in a work attributed to lớn King Aelfred (the Great) of Wessex, AD 885, titled Gregory"s Pastoral Care.

Much later, Shakespeare used the phrase in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1600:

*Flower of this purple dye, Hit with Cupid’s archery, Sink in apple of his eye

It also appears several times in the Bible; for example, in Deuteronomy 32:10 (King James Version, 1611)

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the hãng apple of his eye.

and in Zechariah 2:8:

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the táo bị cắn of his eye.

The phrase was known from those early sources but became more widely used in the general population when Sir Walter Scott included it in the popular novel Old Mortality, 1816:

"Poor Richard was to me as an eldest son, the táo of my eye."

Some additional notes from the wonderful world of ocular imagery:

It’s worth noting that the word “pupil” for the aperture in the eye comes from the Latin “pupilla,” meaning “little doll,” referring to lớn the tiny reflection one sees of oneself when looking into another person’s eyes.

The same root, in the broader sense of “child,” gave us “pupil” meaning “student in school.” và when we say that we’d “give our eyeteeth” for something we desperately desire, we’re referring lớn our upper canine teeth, located directly under our eyes. Not only are these teeth immensely useful in eating, but damage to lớn them can cause severe pain in one’s eyes.

You are here: Home1 / Shakespeare Quotes2 / Famous Shakespeare Quotes3 / ‘Apple Of My Eye’, Meaning & Context

‘The táo khuyết of my eye’ is an idiom that Shakespeare used in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream play. However, Shakespeare was using this phrase literally (simply referring lớn the pupil of an eye), rather than the figurative way it is used today.

Xem thêm: Bị dị ứng nổi mẩn ngứa, triệu chứng không thể coi thường, nổi mẩn ngứa mẩn đỏ khắp người có phải bệnh gan

Meaning of ‘the apple of my eye’:

It is in the Bible that phrase ‘apple of my eye’ is first used figuratively. The hãng apple of the eye was a favourite idiom of the Old Testament writers lớn indicate something, and particularly a person, that one values above all other things.

The phrase comes from a Hebrew expression that literally means ‘little man of the eye.’ It refers khổng lồ the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people’s pupils. Khổng lồ be the hãng apple of someone’s eye clearly means that you are being focused on và watched closely by that person. Your very image is central in the eyes of that person!

This biblical meaning of ‘the táo of your eye’ comes khổng lồ us quite independently of Shakespeare’s use of the term. They are two completely different usages of the phrase. The phrase can be found in several Old Testament books of the King James Bible:

Biblical usage of ‘the táo khuyết of my eye’:

‘He found him in a desert land, & in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye’

Deuteronomy 32:10

‘Keep me as the táo bị cắn of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.’

Psalm 17:8. In this one, when the psalmist (David) asks God lớn keep him as the táo of His eye he is asking God to lớn keep an eye on him và not thảm bại sight of him. David was asking God khổng lồ regard him as one would a cherished child, the object of great affection.

‘Keep my commandments, và live; and my law as the táo khuyết of thine eye.’

Proverbs 7:2

‘Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day & night: give thyself no rest; let not the táo apple of thine eye cease.’

Lamentations 2:18.

‘For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the táo khuyết of his eye.’

Zachariah 2:8

The idiom is very much alive in our everyday speech today & widely used among English speaking countries & instantly understood by everyone.


The táo bị cắn of my eye

Shakespeare’s use of ‘the apple of his eye’

Shakespeare uses the term ‘the hãng apple of his eye’ but not in the idiomatic sense that the Old Testament writers did.

Shakespeare used the phrase only once – in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairy king, Oberon, instructs his servant, the fairy, Puck, to drop a love potion in Demetrius’ eye:

‘Flower of this purple dye,Hit with Cupid’s archery, Sink in táo of his eye’.

Shakespeare is using ‘apple of his eye’ quite literally here. The original meaning of the eye’s táo apple was purely anatomical. It derives from the fact that there was no scientific word lớn describe the pupil of the eye. In Shakespeare’s time they referred khổng lồ the pupil as the ‘apple of the eye,’ as it was round và solid & resembled an apple. The term ‘pupil’ as we use it today, came much later.

Shakespeare uses it in that earlier sense – as the pupil of the eye. Oberon tells Puck lớn squeeze the potion in the pupil of the eye. So the term ‘apple of the eye’ as Shakespeare uses it does not have an idiomatic or figurative meaning – it is quite literal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *