Bad Thing


Also found in: Medical.

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.
References in classic literature ?
Knightley, "of this great intimacy between Emma and Harriet Smith, but I think it a bad thing.
It would not be a bad thing for her to be very much in love with a proper object.
Thedora declares that it would not be a bad thing if we were to remain in this tenement, since if we left it suspicions would arise, and our enemies might take it into their heads to look for us.
My friend," he said, "you are out of temper, and that is a bad thing.
This ain't no bad thing that we've struck here -- plenty grub and an easy life -- come, give us your hand, duke, and le's all be friends.
But no makee kill you yet; then He tell you, maybe, that He no makee you kill: so you makee the bargain with Him, you do bad thing, He no be angry at you when He be angry at other mans.
Nor could he say it was a bad thing, for this would be giving it away; nor yet that it was good, for this would be giving it away equally.
A very bad thing for anybody, but a cursed bad thing for a girl like Louisa.
it would be a bad thing if money was not made to be spent; and how better than on woman--eh, ma belle?
It would indeed be a bad thing if we had not our brave archers to bring wealth and kindly customs into the country," quoth Dame Eliza, on whom the soldier's free and open ways had made a deep impression.
One of his comrades, talking of women, began chaffing Rostov, saying that he was more wily than any of them and that it would not be a bad thing if he introduced to them the pretty Polish girl he had saved.
Bad words were made for bad things," said Ginger, and she told him what Sir Oliver had said.