Bad egg


      • describe someone as being untrustworthy or dishonest
        To refer to someone who has a reputation for being deceitful or unreliable in their actions or behavior.

      • single out a person as being the source of trouble or conflict
        To identify someone as the cause of a problem or difficulty, often used in a negative or accusatory manner.

      • refer to something as being inferior or of low quality
        To describe something as being subpar or unsatisfactory, often in comparison to other similar things.

    Examples of Bad egg

    • Despite the team's overall success, there's one bad egg that keeps causing issues in the locker room.

      The phrase "bad egg" here refers to a problematic team member who is negatively affecting the group's dynamics.

    • The investment firm had an excellent reputation, but it turned out that the financial advisor was a bad egg who defrauded clients.

      "Bad egg" describes an unethical employee who engaged in fraudulent activities, damaging the firm's reputation.

    • While checking the hen's nest, I found a bad egg that I promptly disposed of.

      In this literal use, "bad egg" is an actual rotten egg found among others that needed to be thrown away.

    • You need to be cautious when hiring new staff; one bad egg can spoil the whole bunch.

      This metaphor suggests that just one unsuitable or problematic employee can have a negative impact on the entire group.

    • He was considered the bad egg of the family, always getting into trouble and ignoring responsibilities.

      The family member is identified as the troublemaker or the one who consistently behaves poorly.

    • The teacher could tell there was a bad egg in the class when papers started mysteriously disappearing from her desk.

      "Bad egg" is used to hint at a mischievous or dishonest student without explicitly identifying them.

    • All the new recruits showed promise, except for one bad egg who lacked discipline.

      Among the new recruits, "bad egg" singles out the one individual who displayed a lack of commitment or professionalism.

    • In every revolution, there's a risk of a bad egg exploiting the chaos for personal gain.

      This phrase warns of individuals who may take advantage of disorderly situations to benefit themselves, typically in a deceitful or immoral way.


    The idiom "bad egg" is a versatile phrase with multiple meanings, all of which revolve around a negative connotation. It can be used to describe a person's character, actions, or even inanimate objects. In all cases, it carries a sense of disappointment or disapproval.

    The most common usage of "bad egg" is to describe someone as being untrustworthy or dishonest. This meaning is derived from the fact that a bad egg, when cracked open, may contain spoiled or rotten contents. This comparison is often used to warn others to be cautious of a particular individual, as they may not be who they appear to be.

    Another use of the idiom is to single out a person as being the source of trouble or conflict. This meaning is likely derived from the idea that a bad egg can spoil the whole carton or batch. In this context, the person is seen as causing problems for others and disrupting the harmony of a group or situation.

    Lastly, "bad egg" can also be used to describe something as being of low quality or inferior. This usage may stem from the fact that a bad egg is not fit for consumption and is therefore considered undesirable. It can be applied to objects, ideas, or even events that are deemed disappointing or not up to par.

    Origin of "Bad egg"

    The origin of the idiom "bad egg" is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in England in the 1800s. The phrase was commonly used in literature and in everyday speech, and its popularity spread to other English-speaking countries over time.

    One theory suggests that the term was first used in reference to eggs that had gone bad or spoiled due to improper storage or handling. This association with something that is undesirable or harmful may have led to its usage in describing people or things with negative qualities.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom may have originated from a popular children's game called "Egg on a Wall." In this game, children would take turns throwing eggs at a wall until one broke. The last person with an unbroken egg was deemed the "bad egg." This may have later evolved into using the term to refer to someone who was the "loser" or the odd one out in a group.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "bad egg" has stood the test of time and continues to be used in modern English. Its various meanings make it a versatile phrase that can be used in a variety of contexts to convey disapproval or caution.