Apple of my eye

Question: Can you explain the origin of the phrase "apple of my eye"? What is the táo apple of your eye, anyway?Answer: The idiom "apple of one"s eye" actually refers khổng lồ the pupil of the eye. In ancient times, the pupil was believed khổng lồ be a round, solid object comparable to lớn an apple. Since the pupil is essential to lớn vision, it was held lớn be something very precious. Thus, when you call someone the "apple of your eye," you are telling them that they are cherished.

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The phrase is from the Bible, in which it appears in four books of The Old Testament: Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs và Lamentations. The first use of the phrase appears in Deuteronomy 32:10, which reads "He found him in a desert land, & in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the táo of his eye." A more literal translation of the Hebrew is actually "little man of his eye," which probably refers khổng lồ the reflection of oneself that one sees in the eye of another person. In early English translations of the Bible, however, the phrase appears as "apple of his eye." This probably developed from the Anglo-Saxon word "arppel," meaning both "apple" & "pupil." Thus the phrase developed into "apple of one"s eye" and retained the meaning of something treasured.

Question: My teenage children spend a good khuyễn mãi giảm giá of their không tính tiền time at "the mall." It got me wondering, just where does the word "mall" come from?

Answer: Our word "mall" derives from a 16th-century Italian game called "pallamaglio." The trò chơi involved driving a wooden "palla," or ball, with a "maglio," or mallet, through an iron ring at the end of an alley. The French also played the game and called it "pallemaille," which became "pall-mall" when the English adopted the game in the 17th century.

Eventually the word "mall" was used to lớn refer to lớn the alley on which the game was played. Even after the game lost popularity, use of the word "mall" khổng lồ refer khổng lồ the alleys survived.

Many of the alleys later became streets or walks. One of the most popular walks was located in St. James"s Park in London, and, lined with trees and flowers, this fashionable place became known as The Mall. Use of the word "mall" lớn mean landscaped walks spread to other areas as well.

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Today, of course, in the United States "mall" usually refers khổng lồ a place to lớn shop. Depending on where you live, a "mall" can be an open-air shopping area or a large building. Both are usually made up of retail shops và restaurants, & sometimes professional offices, theaters và other businesses. The idea of walking through an xuất hiện or at least spacious area seems lớn be the link of meaning that connects our malls with the malls of England.

Question: I recently heard a film critic put down a mystery movie as "cut-and-dried." I knew what he meant in a general way, but I wondered how the saying developed.

Answer: Merriam-Webster"s Collegiate Dictionary defines "cut-and-dried," sometimes seen as "cut-and-dry," as "done according khổng lồ a plan, phối procedure, formula or routine." The reviewer was probably telling you that the film lacked originality and was just another version of a familiar story.

Originally, "cut-and-dried" referred to lớn the medicinal herbs sold in herbalists shops of 17th-century England. Whether for the sake of convenience or because, as some sources claim, the herbs were more effective as remedies in dried form, the herbalists literally cut and dried large quantities of various herbs & made them available in this prepared form, saving customers the task of harvesting fresh plants. In time, "cut-and-dried" became a mix phrase meaning "ready-made and far from fresh." When used figuratively, the expression had a negative connotation.

The earliest known use of the expression used in its figurative sense appeared in a 1710 letter khổng lồ a minister. Apparently feeling the same boredom as the reviewer you mention, the author of the letter complained that the minister"s sermon was "ready Cut and Dry"d."

This column was prepared by the editors of Merriam-Webster"s "Collegiate Dictionary," Tenth Edition. Send questions to: Merriam-Webster"s Wordwatch, P.O. Box 281, 47 Federal St., Springfield, MA 01102. Merriam-Webster Inc. Dist. By Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service