One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A male companion of a woman of ill-repute; specifically (a) a harlot's servant or personal attendant; (b) a ‘kept’ man, a gigolo; (c) a pimp.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Copland (fl. 1505–1547), translator and printer. Apparently from apple + squire. The semantic motivation is unclear; perhaps compare metaphorical use of apple to refer to a woman's breasts.
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