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Apple of her eye 掌上明珠

中国日报网 2024-02-23 13:48


Reader question:

Please explain “apple of her eye” in this sentence: Growing up, I always knew my younger brother was my mother’s favorite – he was the apple of her eye.

My comments:

Sounds like an elder sister or brother complaining about their younger sibling being favored by their mother.

Sounds like that.

The younger brother was the center and focus of their mother’s attention and favor. Presumably, he got special treatment from her.

Anyways, being the apple of their mother’s eye means she loves her younger son most, favoring him to her other child or children.

She cherishes him like no other.

He’s the center of her world.

Apple of one’s eye, you see, refers to the pupil at the center of an eye. If you look at someone closely in the eye, you can see your own reflection in the pupil of both their eyes. In this situation, you are, literally, the central focus of their attention.

The pupil is referred to as “apple” because, presumably, it is shaped like an apple.

Again, presumably, because you can always argue that the pupil is not shaped like an apple but something else, such as a red cherry or a black bean.

Well, never mind. The “apple of one’s eye” is a set phrase and the said “apple” is irreplaceable.

Now, where does this expression come from?

Some say it’s from the Christian Bible. Others say it’s from Shakespeare. The Phrase Finder points its origin to earlier times, explaining thus (Phrases.co.uk):

‘The apple of my eye’ is an exceedingly old expression which first appears, in Old English, in a work attributed to King Aelfred (the Great) of Wessex, AD 885, titled Gregory’s Pastoral Care.

Much later, Shakespeare used the phrase in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1600:

Flower of this purple dye,

Hit with Cupid’s archery,

Sink in apple of his eye

It also appears several times in the Bible; for example, in Deuteronomy 32:10 (King James Version, 1611):

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

The phrase was known from those early sources but became more widely used in the general population when Sir Walter Scott included it in the popular novel Old Mortality, 1816:

“Poor Richard was to me as an eldest son, the apple of my eye.”

All right, here are media examples of people considered as the apple of someone else’s eye:

1. A woman’s pet cat has grown so big it is now the size of an adult male bobcat – and weighs in at just over 24 pounds.

Dexter is a F6 savannah cat – he is six generations removed from a Serval, a wild cat native to various regions of Africa.

Seven-year-old Dexter, weighing exactly 24.3 pounds, measures a whopping 89 cm – or 35 inches – and uses a storage bin as a litter box, SWNS reported.

Dexter is so big he can only play with dog toys and eat dog treats.

Owner Laura Kay, 34, was looking for an out-of-the-ordinary cat when she paid £1,900, or nearly $2400 in U.S. dollars, for Dexter to a breeder in 2016.

Said Kay, a laser technician from West Lincoln in Ontario, Canada, “I buy him dog toys because if I get him tiny little cat toys he'll just destroy them.”

She said she bought him “the biggest” cat tower she could find — “but it’s still way too small for him.”

She added, “Cat treats are too small for him as well. If the ingredients are all the same, which they often are, I buy him dog treats,” as SWNS also reported.


The pet owner spends close to $115 a month on the cat among toys, food and vet bills.

Dexter is the apple of her eye, however, reported SWNS — “and she takes great care of him.”

- Fat cat! Woman’s pet feline is now the size of an adult male bobcat, June 13, 2023.

2. Now the apple of your eye has perfected the art of standing on his own, balancing him and walking independently. He may roam anywhere he wants. He now loves to run and chase little pets like puppies, kittens and at times bunnies and birds. You will find him always on his toes when he is awake.

What you need to know

Now that your child is up and running in all directions his coordination is not perfect. He may tumble down if a rough surface or a muddy surface is there. Make sure to sharpen his moves by letting him tumble and learn on his own and how he has to put firm steps at such place. Your child gets tired easily because all the time whether required or not the little monster is running either behind you or away from you. You will find him with most atrocious things in this phase. Your kid is fascinated with broom, rolling pin and all that which is beyond your imagination.

What you need to do

Allow him to play and kick and be happy with his somersaults and what not but make sure you massage his body every day and bathe him with lukewarm water. Apart from this many kids try to avoid milk so be firm to get him enough calcium and protein in his daily diet in the form of milk, cheese, butter, eggs, porridges and shakes etc., along with vegetable and fruits. He needs maximum nutrition for proper bones and brain development.

- Your Kid Has Started Walking Independently, ACKO.com, February 8, 2024.

3. President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia would prefer to see President Joe Biden win a second term, describing him as more experienced than Donald Trump.

Speaking in an interview with a correspondent from Russian state television, Putin declared that he will work with any U.S. leader who is elected, but noted that he would prefer a Biden victory when asked who would be a better choice from the point of view of Russia.

“Biden, he’s more experienced, more predictable, he’s a politician of the old formation,” Putin said. “But we will work with any U.S. leader whom the American people trust.”

Putin’s comments were his first about the upcoming U.S. presidential election, likely to pit Mr. Biden against Trump, and come as tensions between Republicans and Democrats are high over Mr. Biden’s attempts to send more military aid to Kyiv.

However, Trump’s recent statements calling into question U.S. funding for Ukraine and saying he wants to shake up the NATO alliance could better serve Putin. Mr. Biden accused Trump on Tuesday of having “bowed down to a Russian dictator.”

Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina Wednesday evening, Trump again said that if he returns to the White House, he wouldn’t defend NATO members that don’t meet defense spending targets.

Trump retold the story of his alleged conversation with the head of a NATO member country that had not met its obligations. This time, though, he left out the line that drew the most outrage – that he would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want.”

“Look, if they’re not going to pay, we're not going to protect. OK?” he said Wednesday.

Trump also revised his comments about Putin, whom he has often praised as tough and previously suggested treated him like the “apple of his eye.”

Instead, Trump pointed to Putin’s Wednesday interview and said, “Putin is not a fan of mine.”

Bloomberg News quotes Trump as adding that by praising Mr. Biden, Putin “has just given me a great compliment. That’s a good thing.”

- Putin claims he favors “more predictable” Biden over Trump, CBSNews.com, February 15, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣  编辑:丹妮)


Pick his brain? 请教别人的意见


Act your age 按照年龄行事


Sitting tight? 按兵不动


Significant other? 重要的另一半


Pandora’s Box? 潘多拉魔盒


Identity theft? 身份盗窃

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