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Bad egg

a person who is bad, dishonest, or unreliable; a good-for-nothing:
a bad egg who had served several years in prison.
Historical Examples

The dumpy one is Waddy Walsh, the bad egg, who was sent to the reform school three years ago.
The Outdoor Chums on the Lake Quincy Allen

There are fourteen hens, and never do I find a bad egg in the nests.
Abbe Mouret’s Transgression Emile Zola

“Neither can a bad egg,” said Glen, who was trying to make an omelet.
Raftmates Kirk Munroe

He is full of practical jokes, and is a bad egg on general principles.
Peck’s Sunshine George W. Peck

They had him in the office, but he was considered a bad egg altogether, always flying off to race meetings and coming home drunk.
A Set of Six Joseph Conrad

He was always a bad egg; always a disgrace to his name and connections.
Cleek, the Master Detective Thomas W. Hanshew

Carlsen’s a bad egg an’, w’en he hatches, you’ll see a buzzard.
A Man to His Mate J. Allan Dunn

He’s a bad egg, but he wasn’t made to throw at a pardner’s head.
The Red River Half-Breed Gustave Aimard

Chloride of Lime … bad smell … bad egg … white of egg … fowl … grain … flour … flour and water … milk fluid … milk.
Assimilative Memory Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)

I tell you, Mr. Sumner, he is a bad egg, and he ought to be discharged.
The Missing Tin Box Arthur M. Winfield


a corrupt or evil person, cf. good egg

See good egg

noun phrase

A villain, criminal, or other deplorable person; bad actor, baddie (1855+)
An individual who turns out to be rotten, as in You can’t trust him—he’s simply a bad egg . Although egg had been used for various kinds of person (young, good, bad) since Shakespeare’s day, this transfer of a seemingly wholesome food that, when opened, turns out to be rotten took place only in the mid-1800s. An early definition appeared in The Atheneum of 1864: “A bad egg … a fellow who had not proved to be as good as his promise.” In contrast, the schoolyard saying Last one in is a rotten egg does not have any special significance other than as a way of urging others to join an activity, jump in the water, or the like. Also see good egg


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