Politics

An apple a day

Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
Apples are used in European sayings to express everything from nasty people, looking healthy and causing chaos - weekly idioms with audio

Eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away©Nabee(una mela al giorno toglie il medico di torno©Franci), the Brits and Italians advise. The French eat apples to be peachy (manger les pommes pour avoir la peche ©Jane). Having the peach (avoir la peche) is another fruity meaning for being on form and having energy. The Spaniards* will compliment you on looking sano como una manzana©Pedro (as healthy as an apple). The opposite of that is being as wrinkled as an old apple, as the French say (ridé comme une vieille pomme©Jane). Staying in France, the old wives tale diverted into something of a political slogan for Jacques Chirac's 1995 presidential campaign, of which the apple tree was the symbol: 'mangers des pommes’ ©Julie('eat apples’ became a nationwide joke (pertinently, his family comes from the apple-producing region of Corrèze). 

From health to love and warnings. Jak dwie połówki jabłka (as two halves of an apple), chime the Polish. But check out your other half’s parents; if niedaleko pada jabłko od jabłoni/ the apple doesn't fall far from the tree©Nabee/ der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm©Oleand your partner’s parents are bad 'uns, you might know what your relationship will resemble in twenty years time. After all, a rotten apple/ la manzana podrida©Pedro can always corrupt the good ones, as the Romanians say: marul putred le strica si pe cele bune©Luciana. One bad influence is enough, the French add: il suffit d'une pomme pourrie pour gâter tout le tas©Jane(one rotten apple is enough to spoil all the pile). The English cause chaos by upsetting the apple cart©Nabee, whereas the French just fall into apples (tomber dans les pommes ©Jane) when they faint.

Another option is to make compromises: in den sauren Apfel beißen©Ole (to bite in the acid apple -to bite the bullet in English or jump into the swimming pool/ water in Spanish and French (tirarse a la piscina, se jeter a l’eau). Otherwise you could well have an apple of discord©NabeeZankapfel©Monika/ la pomme de la discorde©Jane/manzana de la discordia©Pedroon your hands.

*Ever 'grabbed the apple, bit into it and threw it away' in the direction of your feet? Cojo la manzana, la muerdo y la tiro ©Pedro ('take the apple, bite into it, and throw it') is apparently one of the first techniques they teach you to dance flamenco in Spain.