a rotten apple

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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

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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe these two rotten apples haven't fallen far from the tree.
It is a travesty and an outrage that the few rotten apples in this study may be used by opponents of educational accountability, like the reforms of the No Child Left Behind Act, to charge that testing should be eliminated because the pressure it brings causes cheating.
If the barrel is always full, then the rotten apples must be discarded before better ones can be added.
TWO rotten apples will not spoil the barrel load of benefits that have emerged from the facility to make telephone bids for horses in claiming races, which was introduced on July 1.
Caramel Apple Chips are really, really nasty and taste like old rotten apples.
But for Ganske, "This goes to prove that even HMOs know that there are more than a few rotten apples in the barrel.
6 million fortune, are merely the rotten apples in an otherwise clean barrel.
As in any other sector, the mining industry has also rotten apples in its ranks.
Certainly, the 9 bent iPhone 6s are the rotten apples that has the potential to damage the brand nurtured and grown by the late Steve Jobs and his friends.
So don't give every part of the community the same bad name because of a few rotten apples.
There are a tiny minority of rotten apples - teachers who allow themselves to get involved sexually with children in their charge.
Weed out the rotten apples in journalism and bent police by all means.
He thus elicited the damning revelation that the Murdochs are STILL paying legal expenses for the rotten apples they say are to blame for this pickle - former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who hacked Milly Dowler's phone.
The vicious assault on their boys is not a symptom of wide social collapse, they say, but the unbelievable actions of two rotten apples and their disgusting parents.
If you have a sackful of rotten apples, simply shaking them up and picking out another bunch of the same will do little or nothing to improve things.