Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
English citations of break bad
of an event or of one's fortunes: to wrong, to go downhill
1908, Rex Beach, The barrier, page 212:
- "A woman came out from the East—Vermont, it was—and school-teaching was her line of business, only she hadn't been raised to it, and this was her first clatter at the game; but things had broke bad for her people, and ended in her pulling stakes and coming West all alone.
1913, William MacLeod Raine, Crooked trials and straight, page 134:
- Half the bad men are only coltish cowpunchers gone wrong through rotten whiskey and luck breaking bad for them.
1917, Ring Lardner, “The Hold-out”, in Matthew Joseph Bruccoli, editor, Ring around the bases: the complete baseball stories of Ring Lardner, published 2003, page 413:
- Hagedorn began to whine. "Mr. Edwards," he says, "you got me entirely wrong. I wouldn't lay down on nobody. I've give you my best every minute, and if I haven't it was because things broke bad for me." "What things?" I ast him.
1928, George Herman Ruth, Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball, page 6:
- What a friend he was, as I found out during 1924 and 1925 when things were breaking bad and I needed friends as I never had needed them before.
2003, Leslie Baldacci, Inside Mrs. B's classroom, page 96:
- I swore I would never cry in front of my students, no matter how bad it got, just as I've never cried in front of a boss when things broke bad
2004, Gregg O. McCrary, The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us, page 161:
- Or could a monk have been unwittingly used by narcoterrorists to move drugs into the country and it somehow broke bad?
1992, Lonnie H. Athens, The creation of dangerous violent criminals, page 76:
- The subject has what is described in common parlance as 'broken bad' and, as a result, has become a dangerous menace to others.
2000, Howard Swindle, Doin' Dirty, page 204:
- When the narcs told him they were filing habitual criminal charges against him, Demetrius broke bad, breaking one narc's arm and superficially whacking up the other with a box cutter.
2004, Rita Mae Brown, Full Cry, page 327:
- Lawrence Pollard, the first man hanged there, wasn't evil, just greedy. It was 1702, wasn't it? But some of the others, probably psychopaths, are evil. Or maybe some just broke bad, like Fontaine Buruss broke bad.
- 2005, Will D. Campbell, The Glad River (ISBN 1573124451), page 18:
- But somehow he broke bad when he was just a yearling boy, started running around at night with a bad crowd, drinking beer and wine, and fighting and getting in all kinds of trouble and wouldn't go to school.
- 2012, John Grisham, The Racketeer (ISBN 0385536887):
- My nephew was breaking bad, getting deeper into the crack trade, […]