Apple-polishing – Definition & Meaning

Apple-polishing is a term that is commonly used in the English language, but many people may not be familiar with its meaning. This term is often used in a negative context and can be associated with insincere flattery or favoritism. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of apple-polishing, its origin, and its associations.


Apple-polishing is defined as the act of trying to gain favor or curry favor with someone through flattery or sycophancy. It is often used to describe someone who is trying to get ahead in their career or personal life by ingratiating themselves with people in positions of power or influence.


The term apple-polishing has its roots in the practice of polishing apples to make them shiny and attractive. The idea behind the term is that someone who is trying to curry favor with someone else is like a person who is polishing an apple to make it more appealing.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, apple-polishing means “to attempt to ingratiate oneself : toady”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the act of trying to please someone in authority by flattery or servility”.


Apple-polishing is often associated with insincerity, flattery, and sycophancy. It is seen as a negative trait and is often used to describe someone who is trying to gain an unfair advantage by ingratiating themselves with people in positions of power.


Some synonyms of apple-polishing include brown-nosing, sucking up, toadying, fawning, and groveling.


Antonyms of apple-polishing include independence, self-reliance, and integrity.

The same root words

The root words of apple-polishing are apple and polish. Apple refers to the fruit, while polish refers to the act of making something smooth and shiny.

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences that use the term apple-polishing:

  • I don’t like how she’s always apple-polishing the boss to get ahead.
  • His constant apple-polishing is really getting on my nerves.
  • I refuse to engage in any kind of apple-polishing just to get ahead in my career.
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