"An apple doesn't fall far from the tree"?
What does that mean?
- d_r_sivaLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
(idiomatic) A child grows up to be very similar to its parents in the way they act and in their physical abilities.
Apparently of Eastern origin, it is frequently used to assert the continuity of family characteristics. Quot. 1839 implies return to one's original home. Cf. 16th-cent. Ger. der Apfel fellt nicht gerne weit vom Baume, the apple does not usually fall far from the tree.
As men say the apple never falls far from the stem, I shall hope that another year will draw your eyes and steps to this old dear odious haunt of the race.
[1839 Emerson Letter 22 Dec. (1939) II. 243]
As a‥farmer remarked, ‘If you breed a pa'tridge, you'll git a pa'tridge.’ Another way of setting that truth forth is,‥‘An apple never falls far from the tree.’
[1939 H. W. Thompson Body, Boots & Britches xix.]
He's a fool, Muffie, as his father was. The apple never falls far from the tree.
[1981 Women's Journal Apr. 179]
The social worker had summed up the child's future: ‘Don't expect to do miracles. An apple can't fall too far from the tree.’
[2001 Washington Post 28 June C10]
THE APPLE DOESN'T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE - "Apparently of Eastern origin, it is frequently used to assert the continuity of family characteristics. Quot. 1839 implies return to one's original home. Cf. 16th century Ger. 'der Apfel fellt nicht gerne weit vom Baume,' the apple does not usually fall far from the tree." From "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs" by John Simpson and Jennifer Speake (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, Third Edition, 1998).
".Probably applied most often now to someone with obvious failings, the saying asserts the problem was simply passed along from parent to child. The notion is similar to the older 'Like father, like son,' and 'Like mother, like daughter,' and seems to have appeared first in German. The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson apparently was the first to use it in English when in an 1839 letter, he wrote that 'the apple never falls far from the stem.' But here Emerson used it in another sense, to describe that tug that often brings us back to our childhood home. A century later, however, the saying appeared in its current form and connotation in 'Body, Boots, and Britches' by H. W. Thompson." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
The proverb also appears in Russian, according to "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Mr. Titelman lists a similar proverb: "It runs in the family.found in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play 'The School for Scandal' (1777)."
An apple never falls far from the tree
It means, generally, that children take after their parents. The origin of the proverb is unknown but there are various versions in various languages.
The apple never falls far from the tree. - This proverb, referring to the central part of the distribution, is known in 42 languages in Europe. - The German and Hungarian equivalents are not as categoric as the English one, they simply state: "The apple does not fall far from the tree"
- German: Der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm.
- Hungarian: Nem esik messze az alma a fájától.
In this case too, there is a Hungarian variant, collected in the Bakonyalja region, referring to acorn instead of apple (there are large oak woods there), which includes the exceptional case as well:
"The acorn does not fall far from the tree, if it falls, then it falls very far from it". (Nem esik messze a makk a fájától, ha esik, igen messze esik)
The meaning is similar to -
Idiom: chip off the old block
A person who closely resembles a parent, as in Like her mother, Karen has very little patience--a chip off the old block. This term, with its analogy to a chip of stone or wood that closely resembles the larger block it was cut from, dates from ancient times (Theocritus, Idyls, c. 270 b.c.). In English it was already a proverb by the 17th century, then often put as chip of the old block.
A chip off the old block
A person or thing that derives from the source or parentage.
There are at least three variants of this phrase. The earlier form of this phrase is 'chip of the same block'. The block in question may have been stone or wood. It dates back to at least 1621, when it appears in that form in Bishop (of Lincoln) Robert Sanderson's Sermons:
"Am not I a child of the same Adam ... a chip of the same block, with him?"
That seems to be interchangeable with 'chip of the old block' and comes not much later, in John Milton's An apology against - A modest confutation of the animadversions upon the remonstrant against Smectymnuus (which I include in full just for the pleasure of seeing a book title longer than the line that's quoted from it):
"How well dost thou now appeare to be a Chip of the old block."
Both of those versions appear to be referring to a block that is gone back to in order to make another person or thing.
It stayed 'of' rather than 'off' until the 19th century. In 'chip off the old block' it is the parent, especially the father, that is being called the old block. The earliest reference I can find to this is in the Ohio newspaper The Athens Messenger, June 1870:
"The children see their parents' double-dealings, see their want of integrity, and learn them to cheat ... The child is too often a chip off the old block."
- KiKat2ULv 51 decade ago
It's a comparison that the offspring are just like the parents. His father was a thief, then the son got caught stealing, which led me to think "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree".
- brangLv 44 years ago
i'm the apple that cut back the stem and rolled as some distance from the tree stump as attainable. I found out to swim out of the shallow end of the gene pool at an extremely early age and have not long gone lower back.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
it means that ur parents or maybe only one parent is the tree and u r their child which means ur the apple. it means it doesnt fall far as in u r similar to ur parents and act, same behaviors, talk the same, similar personality kinda thing. hope that helps:)
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- RoadieLv 41 decade ago
kids are like their parents; a chip off the old block; like father, like son
- InsideRLv 51 decade ago
It's another way of saying "like parent like child".
- One HoLv 71 decade ago
That means - don't tell a lie when the truth is plain to see.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
its like saying that you are like your predecesors