polish the apple

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polish the apple

Try to win favor through flattery, as in It may help your standing with the boss if you polish the apple. This expression gave rise to the phrase apple polishing. The idiom alludes to the practice of schoolchildren bringing their teacher the gift of a bright, shiny apple. [c. 1920]
See also: apple, polish
References in periodicals archive ?
The Yuletide season is the only time in the year that private companies can do some apple polishing on government employees without feeling embarrassed about it.