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An apple a day keeps the doctor away

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” suggests that eating one apple everyday is going to prevent someone from having to go to the doctor.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a common proverb in the English language. Although it does not have any scientific backing, it makes a general amount of sense and has thus persevered throughout the decades. This phrase, unlike some other aphorisms, doesn’t need much, if any, context to understand. It makes sense implicitly. Eating well means you don’t have to go to the doctor. 

An apple a day keeps the doctor away definition and origins

 

Meaning of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is used to suggest that eating one apple every day is going to prevent someone from having to go to the doctor. Although the phrase has no scientific evidence to back it up, it’s still used today. More often than not, it’s used to suggest that healthy eating is a way of avoiding doctor’s appointments rather than the consumption of a single apple. 

 

When to Use “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

One might use “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” among friends, family, and close colleagues. It’s a colloquialism, meaning it’s a phrase used in informal speech. One wouldn’t expect to hear someone say it at a business meeting, job interview, or in a professional speech. 

One friend might see another eating unhealthy and then use the phrase to suggest that if they continue on that path, they’re going to have to see the doctor more often than they’d like. 

 

Example Sentences with “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

  • Remember, Ashley, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. 
  • Jackson, you’ve got to stop eating that junk! Remember what they say about an apple a day. 
  • My doctor told me something shocking today, an apple a day doesn’t mean I can stop seeing her. 
  • How many apples do you think I have to eat to never have to go to the doctor again? 
  • I learned the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” the other day, and now I’m only going to eat apples. 

 

Why Do Writers Use “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” 

Writers use “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” in the same way and for the same reasons that one might use it in everyday speech, in order to convey a particular sentiment. The phrase might appear in a dialogue between a mother or father and their child or between friends, one of whom is trying to give the other some good advice. Nowadays, the phrase is not meant as literally as it might’ve been in the past. Therefore, it’s more likely that the person saying it will convey it with some irony, knowing full well that it isn’t true. 

 

Origins of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a Welsh phrase that has been transferred into the contemporary English version. It was first recorded in 1866 in Pembrokeshire, a county in the southwest of Whales. It rhymed at the time, reading: 

Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread. 

This more entertaining and troubling version suggests the same thing but adds that if one does eat an apple, then the doctor is going to be out of a job and therefore not be able to make any money, or “bread.” It’s more complicated in this form and would, unlike the modern saying, require some explaining if someone had never heard the phrase or “bread” as a way of referring to money. The phrase as its used today appears at the end of the 19th century. 

Unsurprisingly, there is no scientific evidence for the aphorism. An apple a day doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to visit the doctor. In a study conducted in 2015, scientists found that those who ate one apple a day had the same number of doctor’s visits as those who didn’t. Although, today, it’s important to note that the phrase is often meant more broadly than its wording suggests. It is used to suggest that generally eating well will mean you don’t have to see the doctor, at least as often. 

 

Related Idioms and Proverbs

  • “A right as rain.” 
  • “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 
  • “In for a penny in for a pound.” 
  • “Come rain or shine.” 
  • “A stitch in time saves nine.” 

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