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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.
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.
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!
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."
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.
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."
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.
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?"
rotten eggand 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.
Fig. bad luck. Of all the rotten luck! I've had nothing but rotten luck all day.
rotten to the core
Fig. really bad; corrupt. That lousy punk is rotten to the core. The entire administration is rotten to the core.
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
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.
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.
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 under bad egg.
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.
a bad appleor
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.
a rotten (or bad) applea bad person in a group, typically one whose behaviour is likely to have a corrupting influence on the rest. informal
a bad/rotten ˈappleone 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.’
spoil somebody ˈrotten(informal) give somebody everything they want or ask for: She spoils the kids rotten.
n. a repellent person. You’re not such a bad egg after all.
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.
n. a single bad person or thing. There always is a rotten apple to spoil it for the rest of us.
n. a bad or despised person; a stinker. She sure has turned out to be a rotten egg.
n. bad luck. Of all the rotten luck!
rotten to the core
mod. really bad. (see also rotten apple.) That lousy punk is rotten to the core.