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.
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.
In an unselfish aspect, I am sorry that the thing is dropped, because it would have been a bad thing for me in a worldly point of view; in a selfish aspect, I am glad that the thing has dropped, because it would have been a bad thing for me in a worldly point of view-- it is hardly necessary to say I could have gained nothing by it.
A very bad thing for anybody, but a cursed bad thing for a girl like Louisa.
To represent a bad thing in its least offensive light is, doubtless, the most agreeable course for a writer of fiction to pursue; but is it the most honest, or the safest?
it would be a bad thing if money was not made to be spent; and how better than on woman--eh, ma belle?
A truth pond wouldn't be a bad thing to carry around with us.
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.
My friend," he said, "you are out of temper, and that is a bad thing.
Charles may say what he pleases," cried Mary to Anne, as soon as he was out of the room, "but it would be shocking to have Henrietta marry Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me; and therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may soon put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he has.
It is rather dark,' said he; 'they forgot to build windows in this room to let the sun in; a candle would be no bad thing.
I had certainly been flushed with wine when I left Rattray; it would be no bad thing for him to hear that I had arrived quite tipsy at the cottage; should he discover I had been near an hour on the way, here was my explanation cut and dried.