An Origin For The Week

This week I have selected: “Apple of his eye/apple of your eye/apple of my eye” which refers to a person much adored or doted on, loved, held dearly, and central to the admirer’s affections and sensitivities. The ‘apple of his eye’ expression first appeared in the Bible, Deuteronomy, chapter 32, verse 10, in which Moses speaks of God’s caring for Jacob: “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 apple of his eye”. Brewer’s 1870 dictionary of Phrase and Fable describes the ‘apple of the eye’ expression (or apple of your eye, apple of his/her eye, apple of my eye) as being a metaphor based on the pupil’s significance within the eye. The theory goes that in ancient times the pupil of the eye (the black centre) was thought to be a small hard ball, for which an apple was a natural symbol. Logically the pupil or apple of a person’s eye described someone whom was held in utmost regard – rather like saying the ‘centre of attention’. Strangely Brewer references Deuteronomy chapter 32 verse 3, which seems to be an error since the verse is definitely 10.