How Do You like them Apples? – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone you achieved something they thought was impossible for you to complete? If so, you could say, “how do you like them apples” when you boast about your achievements to them. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The saying, “how do you like them apples?” It’s an inflammatory statement used when telling someone that you achieved something they thought was unattainable for you.

It’s a way of bragging or boasting to someone you overachieved beyond their expectations.

Example Usage

“So, you said I couldn’t get that girl’s number? Well, here it is. How do you like them apples??

“They all said I couldn’t pull it off, and now here we are with me on top. How do you like them apples?”

“Dereck told me there was no chance I would get a higher mark for the exam than him. Well, I beat his score. How do you like them apples?”

“I was at the track today and chose the underdog for the win. Everyone told me I was crazy, but he won. How do you like them apples?”

“I know you thought my business was going to fail. I always believed in myself and my concept, and it worked out. So, how do you like them apples?”

Origin

The origin of the expression “how do you like them apples” has disputed origins. Some language experts believe the phrase originates from WWI, where the word “apple” was a moniker for a grenade or mortar.

There is evidence of a 2-inch trench mortar being named a “toffee apple” because it looked like a toffee apple on a stick.

Some experts think it has a much earlier origin. The Eagle newspaper published an article in 1895 where the saying appears as follows.

“Bryan is the best cotton market in this section of the state and has received more cotton than any other town in this section. How do you like them apples?'”

However, the most famous use of the expression comes from the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” starring Matt Damon. During the movie, Will discusses topics with a group of intellectuals that regard him as inferior.

After arguing with someone, Will approaches a girl his opponent liked, wooing her into giving him her phone number. After getting the number, he throws it in the other person’s face, using the expression “how you like them apples?”

Phrases Similar to How Do You like them Apples?

  • Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
  • How does it feel huh?
  • Guess what.

Phrases Opposite to How Do You like them Apples?

  • You were right, I couldn’t pull it off.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • How do you like them apples?
  • How you like them apples?

Ways People May Say How Do You like them Apples? Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with apples. You’re not asking someone if they enjoyed that red or green apples. The apples, in this case, are an unexpected result that takes the challenger by surprise.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase How Do You like them Apples?

You can say, “how do you like them apples?” when you’re boating to someone about an achievement that they told you wasn’t possible.

The phrase is somewhat challenging and sarcastic, but it’s more suitable for social situations than professional language.

A friend challenges you to a task they think you can’t complete, like approaching someone you find attractive and asking for their phone number.

If you manage to achieve the goal, you could turn around to your friend, show them the number and use the phrase.

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