Adam's apple

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Calque of Latin pomum Adami, which is found in the botanical sense from 1560 and the anatomical sense from 1600. According to the earliest sources, the anatomical usage derives from a common belief that Adam was punished by God for the fall of man by having a piece of the forbidden fruit lodged in his throat (see 1662 citation).


Adam's apple (plural Adam's apples)

  1. (anatomy) The lump in the throat, usually more noticeable in men than in women; the laryngeal prominence.
    Synonyms: Adam's morsel, apple of Adam, laryngeal prominence
    • 1662 [1651], Nicholas Culpeper, Abdiah Cole, transl., Bartholinus Anatomy, London: Peter Cole, translation of Protuberantia illa in collo anterius conspicua, dicitur Pomum Adami; [quia vulgo persuasum in Adami faucibus pomi fatalis partem ex pœna Divina remansisse, & ad posteros translatam] by Thomas Bartholin, page 123:
      That same bunch which is seen on the foreside of the Neck, is called Adams Apple, because the common people have a beliefe, that by the judgement of God, a part of that fatal Apple, abode sticking in Adams Throat, and is so communicated to his posterity
    • 1911, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, The New Machiavelli, London: John Lane; The Bodley Head [], →OCLC:
      He was seated some way down a table at right angles to the one at which I sat, a man of mean appearance with a greyish complexion, thin, with a square nose, a heavy wiry moustache and a big Adam's apple sticking out between the wings of his collar.
    • 1919 September, Jack London, “The Bones of Kahelili”, in On the Makaloa Mat, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, →OCLC, pages 42–43:
      The thickness of his wrist and the greatness of his fingers made authentic the mighty frame of him hidden under loose dungaree pants and cotton shirt, buttonless, open from midriff to Adam’s apple, exposing a chest matted with a thatch of hair as white as that of his head and face.
    • 1920, Sinclair Lewis, Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott, New York, N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, →OCLC:
      A barber shop and pool room. A man in shirt sleeves, presumably Del Snafflin the proprietor, shaving a man who had a large Adam's apple.
  2. Any of species Tabernaemontana divaricata of fragrant houseplants, native to southeast Asia.
    Synonyms: crape jasmine, pinwheel flower, Nero's crown, butterfly gardenia, carnation of India, East Indian rosebay, Tabernaemontana coronaria, coffee rose, crepe gardenia
  3. Any of hybrid species Musa × paradisiaca, of cultivated bananas.
  4. A citron (Citrus limetta, syn. of Citrus medica).
    • 1597, John Gerarde, The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes[1], London: John Norton, page 1281:
      The fourth [name of the citron] is named of diuers Pomum Assyrium, or Citron of Assyria, and may be Englished Adams apple, after the Italian name, and among the vulgar sort of Italians Lomie, of whom it is also called Pomum Adami, or Adams apple, and that came by the opinion of the commom rude people, who thinke it to be the same Apple, of which Adam did eate in Paradise when he transgressed Gods commandement