polish the apple

polish the apple

To attempt to curry favor through insincere or excessive flattery or praise. An allusion to the cliché image of a student presenting their teacher with a gift of a shiny red apple to instill a good impression. Brian is always polishing the apple with the boss, and for what—some vague, vain hope of a promotion or raise?
See also: apple, polish

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 ?
Almost all of the education debate these days, Kozol says, is about how to make segregated schools better--how to "polish the apple of apartheid" is the way he puts it--rather than how to abolish segregation and finally let America's races go to school together.
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