informal A bad or corrupt person in a group, typically one whose behavior is likely to have a detrimental influence on his or her associates.
With reference to the effect that a rotten apple has on fruit with which it is in contact
- That's all I'm saying, is we have to start blaming the barrel and not simply saying there are a few bad apples who corrupted the barrel.
- Still, aggressive masculine behaviour isn't the problem of a few bad apples.
- Some reports list the officers and agencies responsible by name, but they are likely never to be considered bad apples, but only the custodians of a barrel that had some defects.
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