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English: from Middle English appel ‘apple’ (Old English æppel), acquired as a surname in any of various senses: a topographic name for someone living by an apple orchard; an occupational name for a grower or seller of apples; or a nickname for someone supposed to resemble an apple in some way, e.g. in having bright red cheeks. The economic importance in medieval northern Europe of apples, as a fruit that could be grown in a cold climate and would keep for use throughout the winter, is hard to appreciate in these days of rapid transportation and year-round availability of fruits of all kind.