There are many idioms that make up the English language that are used to express a sentiment or point of view in a unique way. The term "apple of your eye" is one such phrase, and it is used to identify something or someone who is highly valuable to the speaker or writer. In addition to being used as a metaphor, this idiom also has a literal meaning. It can refer to the opening in the middle of an individual's eye, or the pupil.
This widely used idiom has its roots in Old English, an early form of the English language used in parts of England for hundreds of years leading up to the 12th century. Old English was used primarily by the Anglo-Saxon population. This language had many influences but is considered a West Germanic dialect with words from several different languages.
"Apple of your eye" refers to someone who is held dear. The connotation is toward someone precious because, in its earliest form, the term was very literal. It referred to pupil, and as eyesight was deemed precious, the phrase had the merits of an idiom. The term made its way into some of the earliest literary writings from the likes of King Alfred the Great in the late ninth century, although it is unclear who the originator of the phrase is. William Shakespeare also incorporated the use of this phrase into his works in the 16th century.
The term "apple of your eye" is also a biblical scripture that can be found in the Old Testament. In the book of Psalm in chapter 17, verse eight, in the New International Version (NIV), the Bible says, "Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings." This scripture is a plea to the Lord to remember His child. The scripture suggests that the author of the scripture, David, is dear and precious to God.
Other biblical uses of the term "apple of your eye" can be found in the book of Deuteronomy in chapter 32, verse 10, which reads, "He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye." This verse is authored by Moses and refers to God's love for His people. Also, in the book of Zechariah in chapter two, verse eight, the author says, "For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye."