Apple-Polishers' Often Become the 'Teacher's Pet'


Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.


The fruit of apple trees is a popular food in many countries.


Some word experts say that no other fruit is used in more English language expressions than the apple.


For example, you can be the apple of someone's eye, meaning the most loved.

比如,apple of someone’s eye某人眼中的苹果,意思是极珍爱之人、物。

You can upset the apple cart, meaning to create disorder. If your apple didn't fall far from the tree, you are very much like your mom or dad.

比如upset the apple cart-扰乱苹果推车,意思是扰乱秩序。如果对某人来说apple didn’t fall far from the tree-掉落的苹果离树不远,那么这个人跟自己的父母长得很像。

And if you are compare apples and oranges you are comparing two things that are so different that any comparison is really not productive.

如果compare apples and oranges-把苹果和橘子一起比较,就是把风马牛不相及的事物一起比较。

And today, we have yet another apple term. That term is apple-polisher!


To explain it, we need to go back to school.


In the United States, people have long used the apple as a sign or symbol for education. Teachers and school officials often use apples in announcements and on posters hung in classrooms and school hallways. Candidates for school board positions often put an apple on election campaign materials. And many makers of school supplies put images of apples on their products.


But why is the apple a symbol of education?


Some historians say this tradition began in the 1800s when settlers were moving to what is now the western United States.


Back then, the U.S. government did not provide money for schools in the western frontier. The early settlers were responsible for making the schoolhouses and operating them. They also had to provide housing and food for the teachers.


Students would bring teachers food from family farms. This would often include potatoes, vegetables and apples. Apples were a fairly common form of payment since they grew easily in many different climates. And they were used to make apple cider, a popular drink.


Over the years, the tradition of giving food, in this case apples, as payment changed. It became a way of welcoming a teacher on the first day of class and hopefully leaving a good impression.


Americans looked at apples as not only sweet and tasty, but really healthy. They are also colorful, more so than potatoes. So, they make a better gift.


So that is how apples became popular gifts for teachers. And giving apples to teachers became a way of trying to curry favor with them. To curry someone's favor means you try to win them over by giving them something.

这就是为什么苹果成为老师们最受欢迎的礼物。把苹果给老师变成了讨好老师的一种方式。“To curry someone's favor”意思是你试图通过给他们一些东西来赢得他们的好感。

You know, if you often give your teacher an apple, he or she may look kindly on you when they grade your next test. And if that apple is a beautiful, shiny one ... well, your chances of getting better treatment is increased.


And that is where the term apple-polisher comes in.


Not only does an apple-polisher bring in an apple to get better treatment from the teacher, they also keep it nice and shiny. This makes sure it will be the most beautiful apple on the teacher's desk!


The singers Bing Crosby and Connie Boswell sang about this in the 1930s song, "Apple for the Teacher."

歌手平·克劳斯比(Bing Crosby)和康妮·博斯韦尔(Connie Boswell)在上世纪30年代的歌曲《给老师的苹果》(Apple for The Teacher)中就唱到了这一点。

An apple for the teacher, is always going to do the trick. Cause if you didn't study your arithmetic. I gotta an apple for the teacher, gonna meet with great success Well, it won't if you didn't memorize the Gettysburg Address.


We use this as a noun and a verb. When you apple-polish, you use gifts or say nice things to improve your situation.


We have other words that mean the same thing. We also call this type of person a kiss-up, toady or boot-licker. Another popular one is teacher's pet.

我们还有其它其它说法表示相同意思。我们也称这类型的人为“kiss-up”、“toady”、“boot-licker”,以及另一个很流行的用法叫“teacher's pet”。

It is an apple-polisher's dream to become the teacher's pet - much to the anger of fellow classmates.


Whether in school or at work, apple-polishers at work often anger those around them.


And that's the end of this Words and Their Stories. Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.