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A person, especially a woman, who spreads misery or ill fortune to other people or endeavors. A reference to the epithet of Mary Malon, a cook who was thought to have infected 22 people with typhoid fever from 1900–1907 as an asymptomatic carrier. You treat me like I'm some kind of Typhoid Mary, but it's your own mismanagement that has brought ruin to this farm. After yet another company where she worked went bankrupt, Janet began to feel like something of a Typhoid Mary.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A carrier or spreader of misfortune, as in I swear he's a typhoid Mary; everything at the office has gone wrong since he was hired . This expression alludes to a real person, Mary Manson, who died in 1938. An Irish-born servant, she transmitted typhoid fever to others and was referred to as "typhoid Mary" from the early 1900s. The term was broadened to other carriers of calamity in the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
You can describe someone as Typhoid Mary if they bring bad luck or harm to other people. After the relationship ended, she became a Typhoid Mary, spoiling the romantic lives of everyone around her. Note: Typhoid Mary was a cook who spread the disease typhoid to several hospitals that she worked in, though she never became ill herself.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012