I would very much appreciate if you can inform me of the etymology of the phrase "the apple of one's eye"--who first used it and where? Please give me examples quoted.
The apple of the eye. The pupil, of which perhaps it is a corruption. If not, it is from an erroneous notion that the little black spot of the eye is a little round solid ball like an apple. It is generally taken as meaning : Anything extremely dear or extremely sensitive. The phrase is exceedingly old and first appears in Old English in a work attributed to King Alfred the Great, AD 885, entitled Gregory's Pastoral care.