Why that Bump on the Neck is called an Adam’s Apple!

You are at a coffee shop getting your favorite cup of coffee.  You are excited, since coffee is a highlight of the day.

But than, you see the barista…

The barista you see isn’t the short blonde lady, or the tall hippie guy with a beard.  They are both amazing baristas!

The barista working today is the guy with the HUGE Adam’s apple…not that there is anything wrong with having one, it is natural.  But every time you see him, you can’t help but think, “Why is the lump on the front of the throat called an Adam’s Apple?”.

Do not fear, for I have the answer to that question!  I have often wondered where the name ‘Adam’s Apple’ originated, so I did some research and found out its interesting origin.

The Origin is Not What You Think

Okay, so when I started researching the origin of the ‘Adam’s Apple’, I already had a preconception on how it originated.  Me, like many others, believed that the term had a Biblical origin.  In Genesis, the first humans (Adam and Eve) eat a fruit (usually depicted by an apple) from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Apparently, there was a story told as early as the 1700’s that claims that when Adam ate the apple, it got stuck in his throat, as a curse by God.  Now, everyone has a lump on there throat as a symbol of man’s sinful nature.  However, that story is not in the Bible, and is merely a speculative explanation told by people centuries later.

It is more likely that the “Apple stuck in Adam’s throat” story may have actually started after the term ‘Adam’s Apple’ had already been given.  So contrary to what I originally thought, the term Adam’s Apple may not have originated due to Adam getting the fruit stuck in his throat, although we will see later how Christianity influenced the origination of the term.

Middle East Origins

Although I would probably prefer the stuck apple explanation, the real origin of the term is more oratorical.

The earliest name given to the bump on the throat may have been given in Medieval times by medical writers in or around Arabia and the middle east.  The term that these medical professionals decided on was “Pomegranate”.  Yes, it was named after the fruit, probably because it was round and has skin that is close to humans.

Latin Translation

So the Arabic term given to the Adam’s Apple was “pomegranate”.  The reason it is different know is due to translating the term into Latin.

In Europe, they spoke more Latin, especially to describe body parts.  However, it is important to mention a specific Latin word that was used back in Medieval times.  There was a term called pomum Adami, and it was used to define certain types of fruit.  But not just any types of fruit, but Pomum Adami basically meant “Fruits of Paradise”, or fruits that were believed to have grown in the Garden of Eden (from the Bible).  What fruits were considered ‘Pomum Adami’?  Well, Citron and Grapefruit were considered part of this category.  But there was another fruit in this category…Pomegranate!

Yes, Pomegranates were in the category of ‘Pomum Adami’.  So when European Latin saw that the Adam’s Apple was called pomegranate, they switched it with their synonymous term ‘Pomum Adami‘, since that was their normal Latin translation of the word.  

English Translation

Now the bump on the throat finally had a name…but it was not in English…so that meant that some English Gent had to translate the Latin term to English, and it was translated to ‘Adam’s Apple’.  Luckily for us, this is where the language translation ‘Game of Telephone’ ended.

Now you know why that throat abscess is called the Adam’s Apple.  Now the next time you go to a coffee shop and see that barista with the humongous Adam’s Apple, you will not have to wonder how its name originated!  (You can thank me later!)

So that is all for this week’s interesting fact!  If you did not know, I am trying out a new schedule for the Thinking Hound…Puzzles on Mondays, Interesting Facts on Wednesdays, and Storytime/opinion on Fridays.  I did fail to write a Friday post last week, but I should be able to this week!

Have a great day, and remember to do WLYF!

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