rotten

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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 rotten apple

A person whose own words or actions negatively impacts an entire group of people. 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

be rotten to the core

To be entirely bad, evil, or corrupt. The defense attorney refused to take the case when he realized the criminal was rotten to the core, unrepentantly boasting about his heinous crimes. That company is just rotten to the core—I wouldn't be surprised if all the employees were embezzling money!
See also: core, rotten

early ripe, early rotten

A child prodigy will likely lose their abilities as they age. A: "But you played the piano so beautifully when you were younger." B: "I know. I guess it's true what they say—early ripe, early rotten."
See also: early, rotten

spoil (one) rotten

To cause one to expect to receive everything they want by always giving it to them. In this phrase, "rotten" is an intensifier. I think some grandparents believe it's their duty to spoil their grandchildren rotten.
See also: rotten, spoil

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

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

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 rotten (or bad) apple

a bad person in a group, typically one whose behaviour is likely to have a corrupting influence on the rest. informal
See also: apple, rotten

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

spoil somebody ˈrotten

(informal) give somebody everything they want or ask for: She spoils the kids rotten.
See also: rotten, somebody, spoil

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
References in periodicals archive ?
The rottenness is emanating from the Celtic board to the management and playing staff.
The wealth of detail he supplies underscores Hamsun's relentless drive to succeed as a writer and, otherwise, his rottenness as a human being.
The main undesirable alterations observed during the postharvest period of sweet persimmon during cold storage (CS) are the loss of the flesh firmness, the occurrence of skin browning and rottenness.
This reattribution enables the hitherto "impossible" idea that whatever rottenness may be in the state emanates from the monarch himself, thus making it possible to think of a different form of government.
Pla finds the perfect balance between the eerie perfection of La Zona and the rottenness at its core, refusing to let anyone off either by action or inaction.
This phenomenon is related to an original stagnation of time, whose physiognomy is that of rottenness and putrefaction.
Outwardly you appear to men beautiful, but inside you are full of dead men's bones and all rottenness and uncleanness
Fittingly, the essay is called "The Best He Could Do," and while it unsparingly dissects the decline of Hemingway's style and the ways in which that decline was inextricable from the writer's growing moral rottenness and self-deception, Flanagan has better things to do than to glory in what a terrible human being Hemingway turned out to be.
Zoffi would attempt to explain Plato's myth of the cave to them, or to elucidate his view of life as a solitary, meaningless experience in a world filled with falsity and rottenness.
These individuals are an outstanding example of the rottenness spreading through British politics, full of self importance, jumped-up, ten-a-penny, petty politicians.
It's a combination of sewage, mold and musty rottenness.
Our tight-knit little society was steadily deteriorating, revealing its deepest and truest feelings about the war and all its rottenness, that each day was taking away forever more and more of our lives .
It amounts to abject rottenness of spirit probably brought on by petulent resentment that the Welsh Rugby Union didn't go cap in hand to PRL before negotiating this special fixture.