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rotten apple

Slang definitions & phrases for rotten apple

rotten apple

noun phrase

A corrupt or unfit person who may corrupt others: But a certain number of rotten apples, predisposed to brutality, make it through psychological testing that can be woefully inadequate

[1940s+; fr the saying ''one rotten apple can spoil a barrel''; stated in a 1528 source as ''For one rotten apple lytell and lytell putrifieth an whole heape'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with rotten apple

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).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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