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Adam / adam’s apple

ADAM. Man; primarily, the name of the human species, mankind; appropriately, the first Man, the progenitor of the human race. The word signifies form, shape, or suitable form; hence, species. As a verb, the word signifies, in Ethiopic, to please or be agreeable; in Arabic, to join, unite, or be accordant, to agree. — Webster, 1897

Laura liked best to look at the pictures in the big Bible, with its paper covers Best of all was the picture of Adam naming the animals. – Little House in the Big Woods, Chapter 5, “Sundays”

Adam and Eve are the names of the first pair of human beings in the account of the creation given in the book of Genesis. The origin of the name is uncertain, but in Laura’s time was usually connected with the Hebrew root Adam, meaning “to be red” (skin color).

Although Laura Ingalls Wilder mentions reading the Bible many times in the Little House books, as a non-reader in Little House in the Big Woods, she is fascinated by the pictures in the family’s paper-covered Bible, in which an illustration of Adam naming the animals is included. Laura is most interested in the fact that Adam doesn’t have to keep his Sunday clothes clean – as she does – because Adam is wearing only an animal skin. Image from digital collection, Pitts Theological Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

ADAM’S APPLE. The projection formed by the thyroid cartilage in the neck. It is particularly prominent in males, and is so called from a notion that it was caused by the apple sticking in the throat of our first parent. — Webster, 1882

It is said that while Eve swallowed her apple with ease, Adam’s conscience so rebelled against it that it never got farther than his throat. In the 1860 photo of Abraham Lincoln at left, notice the protuberance of his Adam’s apple. In By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura described the “bobbing” of a man’s Adam’s apple to Mary while riding on the train from Walnut Grove to Tracy.

Not used in the Little House books is another definition of Adam’s Apple, that of a fruit of a variety of lime or citron, having a depression on the surface in which it was thought one could see the mark of Adam’s teeth. Therefore, also used for the forbidden fruit.


Adam (BW 5; PG)
     “didn’t know me from Adam” (SSL 25) – As no one alive knows what Adam looked like, to not be able to recognize or know anything about another person
     naming the animals (BW 5; PG) – Genesis 2:20 (King James Version): And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
     Adam’s apple (SSL 3)