a bad apple

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a bad apple

A person whose own words or actions negatively impacts an entire group of people. Taken from the proverb "a bad apple spoils the bunch." Jeremy is really a bad apple. After five minutes with my usually well-behaved kids, they're all acting out.
See also: apple, bad

a bad apple

or

a rotten apple

COMMON If someone is a bad apple or a rotten apple, they are very dishonest or unpleasant, and they have a bad influence on the people around them. It's an opportunity for them to make clear that they are not going to tolerate a bad apple in the United States Senate. In any profession, there's always the rotten apple, isn't there. Note: If a rotten apple is stored with good apples, it causes the good ones to rot.
See also: apple, bad

a bad/rotten ˈapple

one bad person who has a bad effect on others in a group: In response to the allegations of mass corruption within the team, a former player said today, ‘There may be the odd rotten apple in the pack, but the majority are clean and honest.’
See also: apple, bad, rotten
References in periodicals archive ?
Blyth dance group Bad Apples given a dance workshop by Chris and Wes.
Bad apples can prevent others from succeeding in work.
The Bad Apples earned a berth in the championship game by beating Mass Destruction, 4-3, with Gallagher contributing two hits and Drummond striking out five while not allowing a hit over the final four innings.
Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth - an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.
The saying goes: "One bad apple spoils the whole barrel.
Get rid of the bad apples, then you don't need the extra police which you are paying for when we buy our season tickets.
But the first step to rebuilding the credibility cracking under this steady strain of journalist misconduct is admitting that a failed recruitment and management system allows these bad apples to flourish for too long in American newsrooms.
But the investors aren't pleased by recent regulations, either, with one respondent calling the Sarbanes-Oxley Act "an outrageous overreaction to some bad apples.
The key thing is to ensure that the police service is run as best can be and those bad apples will be weeded out.
This is not just a matter of a few bad apples abusing their power.
As in any profession, there are some bad apples out there, so be wary.
Our public policysetters concluded that it wasn't just a question of a few bad apples, but that the barrel we were storing these apples in was flawed.
Bush says the mistreatment was the result of "the wrongdoing of a few"--just a few bad apples in the barrel who need some good court-martialing.
Like the Bush administration's reaction following revelations of Iraqi prisoner abuse, some in the hunting community will undoubtedly dismiss the prairie dog "hunts" described in our cover story this issue as the work of "a few bad apples.