rotten

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a bad apple

A person who negatively impacts an entire group of people through his or her words or actions. 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 rotten apple

A person who negatively impacts an entire group of people through his or her words or actions. Taken from the proverb "a rotten apple spoils the bunch." Before you accuse the entire department of wrongdoing, you should try to find the rotten apple that initially caused the problem.
See also: apple, rotten

Early ripe, early rotten,

 and Soon ripe, soon rotten.
Prov. A child with extraordinary talent or intelligence will probably lose those qualities by the time he or she grows up. Jill: Philip was such a fine young boy; I'm surprised he's become such a good-for-nothing adult. Jane: Early ripe, early rotten. Jane: You must be very proud of your little boy. He seems so mature for his age. Ellen: I'm afraid it won't last. You know what they say: "Soon ripe, soon rotten."
See also: early, rotten

rotten apple

a single bad person or thing. There always is a rotten apple to spoil it for the rest of us. Tom sure has turned out to be the rotten apple.
See also: apple, rotten

rotten apple spoils the barrel

Prov. A bad person influences everyone he or she comes into contact with, making them bad too. Helen is the rotten apple that spoils the barrel in our office. Everyone sees her come in late to work and take long coffee breaks, and they think, "Why can't I do the same?"
See also: apple, barrel, rotten, spoil

rotten egg

 and bad egg
a bad or despised person; an evil influence. That guy is a real rotten egg. She sure has turned out to be a rotten egg.
See also: egg, rotten

rotten luck

Fig. bad luck. Of all the rotten luck! I've had nothing but rotten luck all day.
See also: luck, rotten

rotten to the core

Fig. really bad; corrupt. That lousy punk is rotten to the core. The entire administration is rotten to the core.
See also: core, rotten

something is rotten in (the state of) Denmark.

Prov. something suspicious is going on. (From shakespeare's play Hamlet.) Jim: Look, there's a light on in the office, even though it's way past the time everyone should have left. John: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Jane: I wonder why Fred is coming in so late every morning. Jane: Something is rotten in Denmark.
See also: rotten

spoiled rotten

Fig. indulged in; greatly spoiled. This kid is spoiled rotten! I was spoiled rotten when I was a child, so I'm used to this kind of wasteful luxury.
See also: rotten, spoil

spoil somebody rotten

to do everything possible to satisfy someone's desires Those children are spoiled rotten by their grandparents. Dad always spoiled us rotten, and Mom was the one who disciplined us.
See also: rotten, spoil

a bad/rotten apple

one bad person in a group of people who are good You'll find the occasional rotten apple in every organization.
See also: apple, bad

be rotten to the core

if a person or an organization is rotten to the core, it behaves in a way that is not honest or moral The whole legal system is rotten to the core.
See a bad apple, spoil rotten
See also: core, rotten

spoil somebody rotten

to do whatever someone wants you to do or to give them anything they want My husband spoils me rotten. Look at all this jewellery he's given me. Those children are spoiled rotten by their grandparents.
See also: rotten, spoil

bad egg

An individual who turns out to be rotten, as in You can't trust him-he's simply a bad egg. Although egg had been used for various kinds of person (young, good, bad) since Shakespeare's day, this transfer of a seemingly wholesome food that, when opened, turns out to be rotten took place only in the mid-1800s. An early definition appeared in The Atheneum of 1864: "A bad egg ... a fellow who had not proved to be as good as his promise." In contrast, the schoolyard saying Last one in is a rotten egg does not have any special significance other than as a way of urging others to join an activity, jump in the water, or the like. Also see good egg.
See also: bad, egg

rotten apple

A bad individual among many good ones, especially one that spoils the group. For example, The roommates are having problems with Edith-she's the one rotten apple of the bunch. This expression is a shortening of the proverb a rotten apple spoils the barrel, coming from a 14th-century Latin proverb translated as "The rotten apple injures its neighbors." The allusion in this idiom is to the spread of mold or other diseases from one apple to the rest. In English the first recorded use was in Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack (1736).
See also: apple, rotten

rotten egg

see under bad egg.
See also: egg, rotten

rotten to the core

Thoroughly bad, as in It seems that this police unit is rotten to the core, involved in numerous extortion schemes . The noun core here denotes the central part or heart of anything or anyone. The idiom was first recorded in 1804.
See also: core, rotten

bad egg

n. a repellent person. You’re not such a bad egg after all.
See also: bad, egg

rotten

1. mod. smelly; disgusting. (Not slang.) What is that rotten smell?
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. (see also putrid.) It takes a case of beer to get Wilbur rotten.
3. mod. poor or bad. (From sense 1) We have nothing but one rotten problem after another.

rotten apple

n. a single bad person or thing. There always is a rotten apple to spoil it for the rest of us.
See also: apple, rotten

rotten egg

n. a bad or despised person; a stinker. She sure has turned out to be a rotten egg.
See also: egg, rotten

rotten luck

n. bad luck. Of all the rotten luck!
See also: luck, rotten

rotten to the core

mod. really bad. (see also rotten apple.) That lousy punk is rotten to the core.
See also: core, rotten