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November 19, 2007

#01-038: Fruit Idioms - Part I: The Apple of His Eye

close-up of an eye featuring the pupil
The "apple" of someone's eye
(Wikipedia)

Note: Lots of idioms use the names of fruits. This lesson and Lesson #01-039 will teach some of them.


Get Ready: How many idioms do you know that use the names of fruits?


Let's "harvest" some expressions that have the names of fruit in them.

Two American girls are talking. (This is the first half of a two-part conversation.) How many fruit expressions can you find?

Laverne: I think I'm going to break up with Lenny.

Shirley: Really? I thought you were the apple of his eye!

Laverne: Yeah, he's still says he's bananas about me. But I can't say the same. I thought he was a peach, but it turns out I got a lemon.

Shirley: Well, you know what they say: "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!"

The conversation will continue in the next lesson

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Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_of_my_eye


Practice: Match the idiom to its meaning.

  1. the apple of (one's) eye
  2. bananas
  3. a lemon
  4. make lemonade
  5. a peach

  1. something that doesn't work properly or breaks often
  2. crazy
  3. a favorite thing or person that you love
  4. turn bad experiences into good ones
  5. something really good

Answers are in the first comment below.


Here is the first part of the conversation again, with the meanings substituted for the idioms. 

Laverne: I think I'm going to break up with Lenny.

Shirley: Really? I thought you were his favorite!

Laverne: Yeah, he's still says he's crazy about me. But I can't say the same. I thought he was a good man, but it turns out I got something disappointing.

Shirley: Well, you know what they say: "When life gets difficult, make the best of it."


Explanation of the Answers: After you check your answers in the first comment below, read on for more information on these idioms.

  1. the apple of (one's) eye: A favorite thing or person that you love. Its literal meaning used to refer to the pupil of the eye, which is, of course, very important: Without it, you can't see! What's the connection? People thought the pupil was a solid round object, like an apple.
  2. (to be) bananas about (someone or something): To be crazy about someone or something. Also used as "go bananas." No one is sure where it came from, but it may be because of the way apes behave when they are given bananas.
  3. (to get) a lemon: a lemon is something substandard, especially if it was expected (or promised) to be good. For example, many states in America have "lemon laws": If you buy a car and it has too many repairs in a short time, the dealer must allow you to return it. Perhaps the word comes from the idea that getting "a lemon" leaves a sour taste in one's mouth.
  4. "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!": This is a kind of modern proverb, meaning one should take bad experiences and turn them into good ones.
  5. a peach: Something really good (everyone loves a good peach, right?). Honestly, this word is very outdated, but can still be used for a humorous effect.


Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for November 19, 2007

This lesson and Part II received a combined 2075 visits on my old site between December, 2011, and June, 2021.

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