apple-pie order

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(Can this(+) etymology be sourced?) Unknown. First recorded in 1780 in the sea journal of an Englishman. There are two mainstream theories as to its origin, although there is no evidence for either:

The proposed nappe pliée fits more closely with the date of first attestation.


apple-pie order (uncountable)

  1. (colloquial, dated) A neat and tidy arrangement or organization; a perfect order.
    • 1902, Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Youth: A Narrative: And Two Other Stories, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and sons, →OCLC, part I, page 77:
      And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.
    • 1904, M.R. James, Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad:
      He was made welcome...and was able before retiring to rest to arrange his materials for work in apple-pie order upon a commodious table which occupied the outer end of the room...
    • 1944, Elizabeth Goudge, Green Dolphin Street, page 307:
      She had only just got her home into apple-pie order again; for the second time; first the earthquake, then the civil war.