General Question

_bob's avatar

Are there really that many ways a person could like apples?

Asked by _bob (2485points) June 4th, 2009

What’s the origin of that “how do you like them apples” phrase?

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18 Answers

Zaku's avatar

It means “how well”, not “in what way”.

_bob's avatar

@Zaku Still, are there that many degrees of preference?

Harp's avatar

I found this possible explanation here

“In World War I, something called a Stokes gun fired mortars resembling apples with a stick in them, so they were often referred to as Toffee Apples.”:

So this was apparently a rhetorical question asked as one blew one’s enemy up. And, presumably, the reply was never expected to be favorable.

essieness's avatar

Apple pie
Apple cider
Apple jelly
Apple juice
Whole apple
Apple cut in pieces
Apple on a stick
Candied apple
Peeled apple
Apple with the skin
Apple butter
Green apple
Red apple
Apple of my eye

I guess there really are that many degrees of preference.

_bob's avatar

@essieness Mmm… apple pie…

Pcrecords's avatar

I adore it. Proper gritty old saying. I only ever hear it in an American accent.

whatthefluther's avatar

@essieness…a few more for further variety:
apple sauce
apple chips
Apple records
an apple a day… (etc)
Apple Dumpling Gang
Apple Jacks

lazydaisy's avatar

I enjoy many apple products. Pie being my first choice. So, if somebody is going to ask ‘how do you like them apples’ I will tell them ‘I’d like them as a pie’

essieness's avatar

@whatthefluther Ok here we go :) -Lurve for Apple Records—

Apple Bottom Jeans jeans.. boots with the fur…with the furrrrr
Appletini (sour apple martini)
Sour Apple Pucker
Smirnoff Green Apple Twist Vodka
Apple Martin (Chris Martin & Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid)

whatthefluther's avatar

@essieness….You win! Lurve ya…wtf

well, maybe one more:
apple fritters
apple cider vinegar

OK, I’m done now.

whatthefluther's avatar


Fiona Apple
Christina Applegate

OK, now I’m really done…wtf

_bob's avatar

@whatthefluther Fiona Apple sucks.

whatthefluther's avatar

@bob_…How about bobbin’ for apples?

whatthefluther's avatar

@bob_ Never mind! Besides, I think Fiona Apple is quite attractive and I just can’t get the idea of her sucking out of my mind. Geez, thanks @bob_! See ya…wtf

whatthefluther's avatar

@bob_…Here is bobbing for apples, just for you! See you around…wtf

Zaku's avatar

@bob_ – On reflection, I guess I’d refine my translation, which was of the literal meaning rather than the expression.

“How do you like them apples” is an invitation to describe one’s feelings and opinions about something (not actually apples, unless the asker is being ironic and actually asking about some apples). To your question, which seems to be at how the metaphor would make sense, I defer to Harp’s suggestion about the original meaning, but also note that people use it without likely knowing the origin. In my personal experience hearing it said, though, I do think of the metaphor too as asking for opinions and feelings, which can certainly be said about apples, and often is when discussing the enjoyment of apples, e.g.:

“I really like apple type X from Y for pies. I like type A too but X are my favorite for pies.”
“I hate those apples you get from UghMart. They’re always dry and sour-tasting.”

Full disclosure: the state I grew up in is a major apple producer.

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