Origin Of The Name Of The Adam's Apple

Posted on 19 Mar 2014 02:16

The Adam's Apple, that bony lump in the front of your throat, is more prominent in men then women. Although not all men have a pronounced Adam's apple, or laryngeal prominence, this enlargement happens during puberty under the influence of testosterone, which causes the cartilages and muscles of the male larynx to enlarge, while the vocal cords increase in length. This is a trait that even Darwin noticed, who speculated that we had inherited it from our earliest ancestors. The cartilage that enlarges and becomes a pronounced lump in the neck is the thyroid cartilage, one of nine cartilages which make up the larynx.

But, what does it have to do with the biblical Garden of Eden and the story of Adam and Eve? The video below tells the story of how that manly throat bump got its name. Below the video is the full-text version of the video transcript.

Why Is It Called Adam's Apple? Video Presentation

Before around the 18th century, nobody had a name for the bony lump midway up the front of our neck that most of us know as the Adam's Apple. This lump is actually the front part of the cartilage of the larynx and it is more prominent in men than women. Now, there still is not a very catchy technical name for it, as it's known as the laryngeal prominence. Since it is more prominent in men than women, you can guess why it's not called Eve's apple. But with a name like laryngeal prominence, it's probably a good thing that Adam's apple became the preferred term. But, where does this come from? Most of us know about the story of Adam and Eve and the Forbidden fruit, which, in the West, at least, is usually called an apple, but what does this have to do with that projection on our throats?

Well, as you probably know, God had told Adam and Eve, living there in the Garden of Eden, that they must not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and if they did, they would die. Eve, tempted by the serpent, at the fruit, and did not die. Then she gave some to Adam, and he ate it and he didn't die either. But, they were kicked out of Eden, though. Keep in mind that not everyone sees the fruit as an apple but there is another part of this tale, in folk traditions, that says that part of the apple got stuck in Adam's throat and remained there as a reminder of the original sin, to be passed down as a trait in all men. So the term Adam's Apple comes from that story and it is a Western name for it which was ponum Adami in Latin.

Follow or Subscribe

© 2018 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.