Motherhood and apple pie and mom and apple pie are two versions of an idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. 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)