Apple of My Eye – The One Cherished Above All Others

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Apple of my eye means someone is deeply cherished, loved, or valued above all others. This idiomatic expression signifies a special kind of favoritism or affection, which is usually reserved for those held dearest to our hearts, like children. But, like most idioms, you have to balance its use carefully for it to be effective.

An idiom, such as apple of my eye, is a phrase or expression whose meaning is not deducible from the literal definitions of its individual words. Instead, it carries a metaphorical meaning that often differs from the literal interpretation. The importance of idioms lies in their ability to convey complex ideas, emotions, or cultural nuances in a succinct and vivid manner.

In this guide, I’ll cover the expression’s true meaning, dig into its origin, share some related phrases and examples, discuss its contextual usage, and then quiz you at the end. Ready? Let’s go!

Apple of My Eye – The One Cherished Above All Others

What Does the Idiom Apple of My Eye Mean?

The idiom apple of my eye means someone is exceptionally cherished or special to a person. We use it to describe someone who is extremely precious or dear to yourself or someone else. It’s a term of endearment that can be utilized to express deep affection or highlight the special place someone holds in your life.

The Collins Dictionary says, “If you say that someone is the apple of your eye, you mean that they are very important to you and you are extremely fond of them.” Moreover, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a person or thing that someone loves very much.”

I always think of my late grandmother when I hear the phrase. Despite being one of her many grandkids, she always told me I was the apple of her eye, especially when I helped her bake apple pies in the kitchen on Sundays. She never missed an opportunity to use a pun.

Literal Meaning vs. Figurative Meaning

The literal meaning of apple of my eye refers to the physical center or aperture of the eyeball. The eye, being a sensitive and vital organ, is symbolic of the care and importance placed on the cherished person. This ties over to the figurative sense, where it’s an idiom that helps us communicate and indicate the object of our adoration.

How Is Apple of My Eye Commonly Used in Context?

The idiom apple of my eye is a versatile expression employed to convey deep affection and profound admiration for someone special.

Below, we delve into the various facets of its application, offering tips on effective usage and providing examples to illustrate its versatility. Whether you’re a native speaker or someone learning the nuances of English, understanding the contexts in which apple of my eye thrives can enhance your expressive capabilities.

What Are the Different Ways to Use Apple of My Eye?

  • Within your family: To express affection for a child or family member. “My daughter is my only child and the apple of my eye.”
  • In romantic relationships: To describe a beloved partner. “Even after all these years, you have always been the apple of my eye.”
  • Humorously: To make light of how you favor an inanimate object. “I have six editions of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but the Indigo special edition is the apple of my eye.”
  • For pets: To express just how much you love your fur baby. “I don’t need to have kids. My Frenchie, Max, is the apple of my eye.”

What Are Some Tips for Using Apple of My Eye Effectively?

  • Use the idiom to convey the deep affection and importance of a person, pet, or object.
  • It’s a beautiful expression in personal letters, romantic messages, or heartfelt speeches.
  • Be mindful of the context and relationship with the person to whom it is addressed, just in case they don’t feel the same about you.
  • It’s a rather old-fashioned saying, so avoid using it in modern contexts where it would lose its effect.

Where Can You Find Examples of Apple of My Eye?

I’ve seen this idiom all over the place, from film to television and even in books. It’s the title of a lovely 2017 film starring Burt Renolds, where a young woman, determined to be a competitive horse rider, loses her eyesight.

The idiom has also been the name of several popular songs over the years, like the catchy beat “Apple of My Eye” by rapper Rick Ross. Also, one of my favorite mystery/thriller books is called Apple of My Eye, written by author Claire Allen. Gosh, that’s such a good book. Go check it out if you love a good mystery or thriller read!

What Is the Origin of the Idiom Apple of My Eye?

Apple of My Eye Ngram
Apple of my eye usage trend.

Tracing back to as early as the ninth century, the idiom apple of my eye was first documented in King Aelfred of Wessex’s “Gregory’s Pastoral Care.” However, its usage in casual discourse likely predates this reference.

The original meaning of apple of one’s eye was associated with the pupil in the human eye, which was thought to be a round, solid entity. Given that proper eye care was not available at that time, sight was highly precious, leading to the idiom gradually embodying the concept of something valuable or cherished.

The King James version of the Bible reflects this metaphorical usage in several instances, including Psalms: “Keep me as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” 

Additionally, Shakespeare employed the phrase in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: “…Hit with Cupid’s archery, Sink in apple of his eye.” The term gained renewed prominence when Sir Walter Scott included it in his 1816 novel, “Old Mortality”: “Poor Richard was to me as an eldest son, the apple of my eye.”

How Did the Idiom Evolve Over Time?

Over many centuries, apple of my eye evolved from a literal description in ancient texts to a metaphorical expression of affection and value. It shifted from describing the pupil of the eye to symbolizing someone deeply cherished.

What Are Some Related Terms to Apple of My Eye?

The English language would be pretty boring and repetitive without synonyms and antonyms. They give us other ways to express the same idea. Use any of these synonyms in place of apple of my eye, and your message will still stand.

Apple of My Eye – The One Cherished Above All Others 1


  • Beloved
  • Favorite
  • Treasured
  • Much-loved
  • Dear
  • Cherished one
  • Heart’s delight


Apple of My Eye: Test Your Knowledge!

Choose the correct answer.

What Have We Learned About Apple of My Eye?

The idiom apple of my eye is a timeless expression of deep affection, value, and protectiveness. It might be old-fashioned, but I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon.

Its use spans from ancient texts to modern-day conversations, symbolizing the special status someone holds in another’s life.

I went over its literal and figurative meanings, dove into the phrase’s origins, and gave you a few alternatives to use. Whether in poetic verse, heartfelt letters, or daily affirmations of love, apple of my eye continues to be a poignant expression of affection and care.

For more fascinating guides to idiomatic expressions and their rich meanings, explore our growing collection of articles right here on the site!