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What does 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree' mean?

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This refers to character or inherent personality of a parent (or grandparent), either good or bad, which appear to be inherited by a child: eg. the mother is a generous person and a child (M or F) demonstrates the same spirit, then use the phrase. If the father is a scoundrel and abusive to people and a child seems to act similarly, then it can be said "that the apple...."

What it means is that children will have a tendency to have at least some similarities to one or both of their parents. They won't be so different that people who know the parents won't be able to see the resemblances. There are plenty of idioms and sayings that describe this.

"Like father, like son."
"Chip off the old block"
"In his father's footsteps."

that means the offspring of parents are much like their parents and have not wandered from the teachings or the personalities of the parents

It means that the children will usually turn out like the parents. Usually, you see this used in a negative way, as when an undesirable or criminal person has children who turn out to also be undesirable or criminal.

when one person says this to another, it usually means something like "you're a lot like me." For instance, take a father who was constantly at work through out his son's childhood and never had time for him. Then the child grew up, got a job, and never had time for his family. Someone would say " The acorn/apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
It means that the descendant is very much like the ancestor (son is like the father). Who said it first- no idea. Sorry
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