Motherhood and apple pie and mom and apple pie

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Motherhood and apple pie and mom and apple pie are two versions of an idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common saying motherhood and apple pie or mom and apple pie, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Motherhood and apple pie is an American idiom that means the core beliefs of the people of the United States; the most cherished values of the people of the United States; or the most deeply ingrained characteristics of the people of the United States. The expression motherhood and apple pie became popular after World War II. The original expression, mom and apple pie, was a phrase popular among American troops fighting in the war. When an American soldier was asked what he was fighting for, his answer was often, “Mom and apple pie.” The answer was so ubiquitous that the phrase was incorporated into the simile, as American as mom and apple pie. The term was co-opted by advertising agencies in the 1960s and turned into the idiom motherhood and apple pie. When used as an adjective before a noun, the idioms are hyphenated, as in motherhood-and-apple-pie and mom-and-apple-pie.


Criticising the campaign is like saying one is against motherhood and apple pie, Emily Kenway writes, before comprehensively unpicking the hypocrisy that runs through much of the government’s work in this sector. (The Guardian)

But the shocking revelations about this once revered motherhood-and-apple-pie institution have drastically slashed nationwide membership from a peak of about 4 million back in the ’70s to fewer than 2 million active Boy Scouts today. (Examiner-Enterprise)

We all know that party platforms are traditionally about mom and apple pie—but at least they tell us the party is in favor of apple pie rather than cherry pie. (Brookings Institution)

“It was almost subversive to use the most mom-and-apple-pie, all-American of mediums, the marching band, to open minds,” she said. (The Atlantic)