early 13c., from O.N. rotinn
"decayed," pp. of verb related to rotna
"to decay," from P.Gmc. stem *rut-
). Sense of "corrupt" is from late 14c.; weakened sense of "bad" first recorded 1881. Rotter
"objectionable person" is recorded from 1894. Rotten apple
is from a saying traced back to at least 1528: "For one rotten apple lytell and lytell putrifieth an whole heape."