Burgess gave three explanations for the origins of the title.
- ...an organic entity, full of juice and sweetness and agreeable odour, being turned into an automaton.
- this title would be appropriate for a story about the application of Pavlovian or mechanical laws to an organism which, like a fruit, was capable of colour and sweetness.
- This title alludes to the protagonist's positively conditioned responses to feelings of evil which prevent the exercise of his free will. With this technique, the subjectís emotional responses to violence are systematically paired with a negative stimulation in the form of nausea caused by an emetic medicine administered just before the presentation of films depicting violent, and "ultra-violent" situations. Written from the perspective of a seemingly biased and unapologetic protagonist, the novel also contains an experiment in language: Burgess creates teenage slang of the not-too-distant future.