bad egg

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



bad egg (plural bad eggs)

  1. (Britain, US, 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, chapter X, in The Mucker[1], All-Story Cavalier Weekly:
      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 []
    • 2017 May 26, Dan Shive, El Goonish Shive (webcomic), Comic for Friday, May 26, 2017:
      "And the fifth immortal we know tried to kill you." "He is a bad egg. We stick to good eggs."
  2. (literally) An egg that has gone bad; a rotten egg.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gary Martin (1997–), “A bad egg”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 28 December 2017; Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “egg”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, retrieved 28 December 2017.