one bad apple spoils the (whole) bunch

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one bad apple spoils the (whole) bunch

It only takes one person, thing, element, etc., to ruin the entire group, situation, project, etc. Refers to the fact that a rotting apple can cause other apples in close proximity to begin to rot as well. A: "It used to be considered the top research facility in the region, but after one of its researchers was discovered to have plagiarized a number of his papers, the whole department's reputation has been dragged through the mud." B: "Well, just one bad apple spoils the bunch." I really loved my job, but there was this one jerk there who made life miserable for everyone. One bad apple spoils the whole bunch, unfortunately.
See also: apple, bad, bunch, one, spoil
References in periodicals archive ?
One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. "The Black-Print: Black America's Blueprint for Achieving Wealth, Prosperity, and Respect" discusses the problems facing modern African Americans where opinions of one poor individuals so often get imprinted of other members of the same race.