The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Amy Reeves
For the Sentinel 

Where'd that come from?


Apple of my eye: Idiom

In Old English, the pupil of the eye was called the ‘apple.’ If someone is the ‘apple of your eye’, he or she is someone that you look at a lot because they are your favorite person or the one you love most. Since the pupil is essential to vision, it was thought to be something very precious. As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching I thought about some of the different ways we verbally express our love and adoration for people we cherish in our lives—speaking of apples of eyes. We all have silly and endearing things to call our sweetheart, some are universal and some are made up. For instance, love-muffin, sugar pie, sweetheart, honey bunch, hon, babe, snookums…the list is endless. I did learn the term ‘honey’ is a sweet way to call someone bee spit. I have been called many things (good and bad) my all-time favorite is ‘Heifer-Lump.’ When my love-muffin calls me his Heifer-Lump and moo’s at me, especially in public, I know he really loves me. If you are wondering what a Heifer-Lump is, go grab your sweetheart, sit back and enjoy the tale of the Hiefer-Lump. A few years ago, husband Jack and I had just read the Winnie the Pooh story about the Heffalump to our daughter for bedtime. I laid down on the couch in the living room trying not to die from what seemed like the worst cold I have ever had in my life. Jack was putting wood in the woodstove and I said I felt like a Heffalump. He turned to me with a confused look on his face and said “What is a Heifer-Lump?” Trying to be extremely indignant with tissue stuffed in one’s nostrils is quite an accomplishment, but I managed nicely, thank you. Said “I amb nod ah lumbpf off a femall cow” (I am not a lump of a female cow.) At this point, he almost burst out laughing and had to think fast to get out of the dog house. He was already on his knees from putting wood in the fire place so he crawled over to the couch and he looked me lovingly in the eyes…I could see the wheels turning…He gently touched my cheek and told me, “If you were a Heifer-Lump, you would be an angelic Heifer-Lump and you would be my angelic Heifer-Lump.” How can you stay mad at someone who is so sincere and is not dying on the floor laughing at the sight of his sick, whiney wife with wads of tissue hanging out her face? He got a free get-outof-the-dog-house card that night for creative and quick thinking. So now when we are being silly, we moo at each other. For I am his Heifer-Lump and he is my Bull-Lump. The origin of this phrase ‘apple of my eye’ is actually from the Bible. It appears in four books of The Old Testament: King James Version: Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs and Lamentations. The first use of the phrase appears in Deuterono

my 32:10, which reads “He found him in a desert land and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” The literal translation in Hebrew is actually “little man of his eye,” which most likely refers to the reflection of oneself that one sees in the eye of another person. In early English translations of the Bible, the phrase appears as “apple of his eye.” This evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word “arppel,” meaning both “apple” and “pupil.” The phrase developed into “apple of one’s eye” and retained the meaning of something treasured. This phrase also appears 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


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