Bad thing



bad thing

jargon
(From the 1930 Sellar & Yeatman parody “1066 And All That”) Something that can’t possibly result in improvement of the subject. This term is always capitalised, as in “Replacing all of the 9600-baud modems with bicycle couriers would be a Bad Thing”.
Opposite: Good Thing.
British correspondents confirm that Bad Thing and Good Thing (and probably therefore Right Thing and Wrong Thing) come from the book referenced in the etymology, which discusses rulers who were Good Kings but Bad Things. This has apparently created a mainstream idiom on the British side of the pond.
[Jargon File]
Contemporary Examples

If you have a good experience with that person, then it is less likely you will label immigration a “bad thing” in a poll.
How Liberal Love for the ‘Border Kids’ Could Sink Immigration Reform Keli Goff July 13, 2014

“I’ve got a huge uphill battle,” she told Oprah, and it didn’t sound like such a bad thing.
Fergie to Oprah: “I’m Stripped Bare” Rebecca Dana May 31, 2010

I don’t know if that level of authenticity is a good thing or a bad thing for you guys.
Broadway’s Real-Life Mormon Missionary Sally Atkinson June 6, 2011

From our point of view, would Cruz-as-nominee be a good or bad thing?
The Case for Ted Cruz—Why Liberals Should Hope the GOP Taps Him in 2016 Michael Tomasky July 21, 2013

With so many different desserts to explore, the end of summer might not be such a bad thing after all.
The Perfect Apple Dessert Cookstr.com September 27, 2010

Historical Examples

I should not change, and listen, Hector—it would be a bad thing if I did!
More About Peggy Mrs G. de Horne Vaizey

Had this happened to Honeyman, it would have been a bad thing for New Jersey.
Stories of New Jersey Frank Richard Stockton

That was a bad thing for the Albemarle, for she never went out again.
Stories of Our Naval Heroes Various

It’s a good thing in a good cause but a bad thing in a bad one.
Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1904 Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Well, it isn’t a bad thing, some of it,” I went on with pride and content.
The Memoirs of an American Citizen Robert Herrick

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