#1 [ZT]Popular Phrases:One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Whole Bunch|
The phrase "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" as we use it today, means that one person doing wrong can affect a whole group of people. It can mean that the person doing wrong can have a negative influence on those around him or her, causing them to do wrong as well. It can also mean that one person doing wrong can cause others to be prohibited from doing something for fear that they will do wrong as well. Chaucer was quoted as saying that the "rotten apple ruins its neighbors"
My attempts to discover the origin and meaning of the phrase "one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch" were futile. I spent quite some time searching for this information and ended up with not much more than I knew when I started. I found many references to the phrase and several usages for the phrase, but in none of the information I read did I discover the origin. It is thought to be a Chinese proverb, but no documentation exists as proof of this. The proverb originally was "One mouse dropping ruins the whole pot of rice." While I find that a little gross, in essence it has the same meaning as "one bad apple ruins the whole bunch"
The phrase stems from the fact that in the literal sense, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch of apples. If one apple in a bunch is indeed rotten, it emits gasses that can be absorbed by other apples in proximity, causing them to begin to rot as well. The phrase, as used today, simply means that one person's actions can have a negative effect on those around him or her. The phrase can also be used to describe negative after-effects. For example, if you are hired in a new position and the previous person was fired because they did not do their job well in a particular area, you may be scrutinized more closely. That bad apple ruined the bunch, in the sense that the boss now believes that you may not do your job well in that area because of a previous negative experience.
http://www.associatedcontent.com ... meaning.html?cat=37