Volume 3. Issue 2.
What was said? We don’t want to upset the apple cart by changing the time of our workshop…
Did someone really say that? Yes, a team member said it in a meeting… then it was repeated two more times that very day!
What does it mean? It means to cause trouble, upset things or create difficulty… especially by spoiling someone’s plans.
Origin: There are a roughly four variations of the origin of this phrase….
1. This phrase is first recorded by Jeremy Belknap in The History of New Hampshire, 1788: “Adams had almost overset the apple-cart by intruding an amendment of his own fabrication on the morning of the day of ratification” [of the Constitution].
2. According to another source, the original intent was to throw a man down. In the early to late 1800s “apple cart” was wrestlers’ slang for the body and “down with his apple cart” was to throw a man down.
3. Alternatively, some say the concept originated with the Romans who had a similar expression “Perii, plaustrum perculi” – “I am undone, I have upset my cart.”
4. Most basic / generic understanding: It generally refers to farmers in the 1800s would bring applecarts loaded with neatly piled, fresh apples for sale. Along comes a clumsy person who knocks over the cart, spilling all the apples.The farmer’s plan to sell the apples is in turn, “spoiled”.
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Related articles (not just related… but also a pun on “Apple”)
- Upsetting The Apple-Cart: Google Just Torpedoed The iPhone’s Profit Margins (seekingalpha.com)