[ ap-uhl ]
See synonyms for: appleapples on

  1. the usually round, red or yellow, edible fruit of a small tree, Malus sylvestris, of the rose family.

  2. the tree, cultivated in most temperate regions.

  1. the fruit of any of certain other species of tree of the same genus.

  2. any of these trees.

  3. any of various other similar fruits, or fruitlike products or plants, as the custard apple, love apple, May apple, or oak apple.

  4. Informal. anything resembling an apple in size and shape, as a ball, especially a baseball.

  5. Bowling. an ineffectively bowled ball.

  6. Slang. a red capsule containing a barbiturate, especially secobarbital.

Origin of apple

First recorded before 900; Middle English appel, Old English æppel; cognate with Old Frisian, Dutch appel, Old Saxon apl, appul, Old High German apful (German Apfel ), Crimean Gothic apel, from unattested Germanic aplu (akin to Old Norse epli, from unattested apljan ); Old Irish ubull (neuter), Welsh afal, Breton aval, from unrecorded pre-Celtic ǫblu; Lithuanian óbuolas, -ỹs, Latvian âbuol(i)s (with reshaped suffix), Old Prussian woble, perhaps Thracian (din)upla, (sin)upyla “wild pumpkin,” Old Church Slavonic (j)ablŭko (representing unrecorded ablŭ-ko, neuter), from unattested Balto-Slavic āblu-. Cf. Avalon

Words Nearby apple Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use apple in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for apple


/ (ˈæpəl) /

  1. a rosaceous tree, Malus sieversii, native to Central Asia but widely cultivated in temperate regions in many varieties, having pink or white fragrant flowers and firm rounded edible fruits: See also crab apple

  2. the fruit of this tree, having red, yellow, or green skin and crisp whitish flesh

  1. the wood of this tree

  2. any of several unrelated trees that have fruits similar to the apple, such as the custard apple, sugar apple, and May apple: See also love apple, oak apple, thorn apple

  3. apple of one's eye a person or thing that is very precious or much loved

  4. bad apple or rotten apple a person with a corrupting influence

Origin of apple

Old English æppel; related to Old Saxon appel, Old Norse apall, Old High German apful

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with apple


In addition to the idioms beginning with apple

  • apple a day
  • apple of one's eye
  • apple polisher
  • apples and oranges

also see:

  • polish the apple
  • rotten apple
  • upset the applecart

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.