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An allusion to an egg that has gone bad or turned rotten.[1]



bad egg (plural bad eggs)

  1. (Britain, idiomatic) Someone whose behaviour is reprehensible or irresponsible; a rogue.
    • 1906, Horatio Alger, Joe the Hotel Boy,
      "Dat's right!" piped up the newsboy who had brought the policeman. "I see him do de trick jest a minit ago!"
      "This is a plot against me!" fumed the swindler.
      "Dat feller is a bad egg!" went on the newsboy. "His name is Bill Butts. He's a slick one, he is. Hits de country jays strong, he does!"
    • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker:
      I've been a fairly bad egg, Byrne, for a great many years; but, by George! I'm not entirely rotten yet.
    • 1990, John Updike, Rabbit at Rest:
      My son had a drug problem and hired a bad egg as a chief accountant []



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A bad egg” in Gary Martin, The Phrase Finder, 1997–, retrieved 28 December 2017; “egg” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019, retrieved 28 December 2017.