apple-polish verb1 : to attempt to ingratiate oneself :toady 2 : to curry favor with (as by flattery)
“There still might be time to apple-polish the boss.” — Garry Smits, Florida Times-Union, October 30, 2008
“One of the reasons unions (and stepincreases) exist is to eliminatecronyism or favoritism. No teacherhas to apple-polish the principal to get a raise.” — John Jones, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, June 11, 2011
Did you know?
It began innocently enough: a shinyapple for the teacher, a youngstudent‘s gift (OK, bribe) given in the hope that classroom high jinks wouldbe forgotten or forgiven. The collegestudents of the 1920s tried a moresophisticated version of the trick, polishing professorial egos withcompliments in the hopes of getting a better grade. Because of its similarityto the “apple for the teacher” practice, college students dubbedthat grade-enhancement strategyapple-polishing. But the idea quicklylost its luster and by 1935 the verbapple-polish had picked up negativeconnotations. Nowadays, the apple-polisher (academic or otherwise) is viewed in the same much-malignedclass as the toady, sycophant, and bootlicker.