Definition of apple in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈap(ə)l/


1The round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin green or red skin and crisp flesh.
Example sentences
  • It could be something specific, Victoria plum skins or green apples.
  • Cate picked a few apples from a fruit tree in the grove, wondering if they had any food to eat.
  • The apple cider, made exclusively with crisp, sweet winesap apples, is spicy and just winey enough.
1.1Used in names of unrelated fruits or other plant growths that resemble apples in some way, e.g. custard apple, oak apple.
Example sentences
  • After a while I found that I liked to eat some custard apples better than others.
  • Montego Bay offered us some custard apples, mangoes, guineps, and naseberries.
  • George ran to an oak tree and picked up an oak apple.
2 (also apple tree) The tree bearing apples, with hard pale timber that is used in carpentry and to smoke food.
  • Genus Malus, family Rosaceae: numerous hybrids and cultivars.
Example sentences
  • The whole house is covered in Virginia creeper and among the trees are an apple tree, cedar, Japanese cedar and large cypress.
  • Flowers grew all around, and I saw an apple tree and a peach tree to the side.
  • Let me develop that illustration in a familiar way, contrasting a Christmas tree with an apple tree.



the apple never falls far from the tree

proverb Important family characteristics are usually inherited: he’s a fool, Mary, as his father was—the apple never falls far from the tree
More example sentences
  • It is said, in our area and among our families, that the apple never falls far from the tree, and Jair inherited skill and teaching from his father, which leaves me hopeful.
  • She is an avid collector of proverbs from many languages, even those she does not speak, like Swedish, ‘Eplet faller inte bort från treet,’ the apple never falls far from the tree.
  • Her grandfather was once a very loyal supporter of the Dark Sorcerers and I am afraid the apple never falls far from the tree.

the apple of one's eye

A person of whom one is extremely fond and proud: a daughter who had ceased to be the apple of her father’s eye
Originally denoting the pupil of the eye, considered to be a globular solid body, extended as a symbol of something cherished
More example sentences
  • He adored her, she was the apple of his eye and she loved her dad.
  • Your child is quite rightly the apple of your eye.
  • And I know that to every mummy and daddy, they are the apple of their eye, the perfect centre of their Universe.

apples and oranges

(also apples to oranges)
North American Used with reference to two things that are fundamentally different and therefore not suited to comparison: unless you also drove a Corolla on the same roads as the A8, you’re comparing apples and oranges
More example sentences
  • Like apples and oranges, they are simply different.
  • Some would say this is apples and oranges, that recreational golf is different to tournament golf.
  • But (as I noted before), we compare apples and oranges all the time!

apples and pears

British rhyming slang Stairs: he hasn’t made it up those apples and pears in ten years
More example sentences
  • Does the Greater London Assembly issue directives on disabled access and suggest fitting elevators to replace apples and pears?
  • Thus the trouble and strife would walk down the apples and pears and along the frog and toad to use the public dog and bone.
  • If you would care to accompany me up the apples and pears I think I have what you are looking for.

apples to apples

North American [often with negative] Used with reference to a comparison regarded as valid because it concerns two things that are fundamentally the same: there is no apples-to-apples comparison when comparing a foreign currency to USD you want to compare us to Australia or Great Britain, like it’s apples to apples
More example sentences
  • Simply put, comparing our operations to commercial operations is not an apples to apples proposition.
  • This setup should provide as close to apples to apples in terms of hardware configuration.
  • This virtualization stuff is so new, so tricky and so varied that apples to apples measurements are almost impossible.

a rotten (or bad) apple

informal A bad or corrupt person in a group, especially one whose behaviour is likely to have a detrimental influence on the others: chartered accountants have no time for rotten apples in their professional barrel looks like we hired ourselves a bad apple
With reference to the effect that a rotten apple has on fruit with which it is in contact
More example sentences
  • That's all I'm saying, is we have to start blaming the barrel and not simply saying there are a few bad apples who corrupted the barrel.
  • Still, aggressive masculine behaviour isn't the problem of a few bad apples.
  • Some reports list the officers and agencies responsible by name, but they are likely never to be considered bad apples, but only the custodians of a barrel that had some defects.

she's apples

Australian /NZ informal Used to indicate that everything is in good order and there is nothing to worry about: ‘Is the fire safe?’ ‘Yeah, she’s apples.’
From apples and spice or apples and rice, rhyming slang for 'nice'
More example sentences
  • Just give the cooler a light rough up with a wire brush or green scotch pad and then wipe with prepsol, paint with heatproof and she's apples.
  • I've now configured my MTA to add a message ID if it's missing and she's apples.
  • Yes, I turn the TV down 35% and she's apples.

upset the apple cart

Spoil a plan or disturb the status quo.
Example sentences
  • And, because I'm a contrarian at heart, I'll root for perverse storylines that will upset the apple cart and disturb the powers that be.
  • They were breaking with the status quo, upsetting the apple cart, taking part in a 60s style rebellion against the establishment.
  • Once upon a time, books were meant to upset the apple cart, to make politicians nervous, threaten the status quo, shake up our expectations, make us question things anew.


Old English æppel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch appel and German Apfel.

  • Originally the Old English word apple could be used to describe any fruit. The forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is generally thought of as an apple, and pictured as such, but the 1611 King James Version of the Bible simply calls it a fruit. The apple is the predominant fruit of northern Europe, and many common phrases involve it. A rotten apple (or a bad apple) is someone who is a bad influence on the rest of a group, from the idea of a rotten apple spoiling other fruit. The idea can be traced back at least as far as the days of the early printer William Caxton in the 15th century. The apple of your eye was once a term for the pupil, which people used to think of as a solid ball. They later applied the expression to anything considered to be similarly delicate and precious. The proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor away dates from the 19th century, as does the alternative form ‘eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread’. The Australian expression it's (or she's) apples means ‘everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about’. This derives from apples and rice (or apples and spice), rhyming slang for ‘nice’. Another example of rhyming slang is apples and pears for ‘stairs’. The city of New York has been known as the Big Apple since the 1920s, possibly from the idea that there are many apples on the tree but New York is the biggest. Applet [1990s] is an unconnected word, being computer jargon formed from ‘application’ and the ending for ‘little’ -let.

Words that rhyme with apple

chapel, chappal, Chappell, dapple, grapple, scrapple

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: apple

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.