Up the apples and pears


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Up the apples and pears'?

Apples and pears is Cockney rhyming slang for stairs.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Up the apples and pears'?

The Cockney rhyming slang origin of this expression is well established and it was one of the earliest of its kind. The familiarity of apples and pears to the costermongers of London’s street markets put it forward as an obvious slang alternate for stairs.

The expression is now used much less than in the past, after all, there are numerous alternative rhymes for stairs. London’s East-end children are now as unlikely to be told to ‘get up the apples to bed’ as middle-class children are to be told to ‘go up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire‘.

Trend of up the apples and pears in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.