Why We Say: #5
“I tell you, George, my daughter is the cutest little thing. I come home and she runs up and jumps into my arms. She wraps herself around me, gives me a big smooch and says, ‘Daddy!’ Makes me swell up with sheer happiness. She’s a precious blessing–she is the apple of my eye.”
According to my reference book, sometime around in the 9th century people began to realize apples were fairly tasty and valued them. Eyes, being valued, somehow drew the same worth as apples, and so, when something was valued it became the “apple of the eye.”
We have all kinds of expressions relaying our appreciation for things, such as”You’re the best!” “You’re one in a million!” Being the apple of someone’s eye? I guess that’s right up there with the “bees knees.”
The book offers a really weak explanation. Apples have been a loooong time, and seeing as how they are fairly inexpensive and easy to obtain I’m having a tough time grasping that eyes and apples are on the same scale of value. I definitely think eyes are more precious than a Golden Delicous or even a Honey Crisp. However, I do see the connection between apples and eyes in that the pupil looks like an apple in shape. I associate apples with knowledge (ahem, Eve) and seeing someone as being special means you have learned their value.
There must be a better explanation out there? Anyone?