Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rotten adj.

1. in a very poor state, of a very bad quality, quite worthless; by ext. venereally diseased; dead.

[UK]New Custom I ii: No, God’s soul, I warrant him, I will see him rotten, / Before that my doctrine I shall have forgotten.
[UK] Groundworke of Conny-catching Ch. 22: A kinching Mort is a little Girle, the Morts their Mothers [...] brings them up sauagely till they growe to be ripe, and soone ripe, soone rotten.
[UK]Marston Dutch Curtezan II i: Is thy Maister rotten?
[UK]T. Overbury New and Choise Characters n.p.: [A Chamber-Mayde] She accounts her best time of trading; for a Bawde is like a Medlar, shee’s not ripe, till she be rotten.
[UK]R. Brome City Wit V i: cra.: A wench as tender as a City Pullet. ruf.: But not so rotten.
[UK]Ford Fancies I ii: An old rotten Codled mungrell, parcell Bawde, parcell midwife, all the markes are quite out of her mouth, not a stumpe of a tooth left in her head.
[UK]H. Mill Nights Search letter by Champernowne n.p.: Those that are rotten-ripe, Drop down before thee.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 207: As rotten as a t---.
[UK]Etherege Man of Mode II i: An idle town flirt with a painted face, a rotten reputation, and a crazy fortune.
[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 35: He is too enterprizing a Warrior that way, and happening not long since to Storm a Rotten Fort.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 493: You had been rotten long ago; / More times than thrice had he not prop’d / Your pumpl’d nose, it must have drop’d.
[Ire]Hibernian Jrnl 9 May 1/1: The Rump, the Tail, the refuse, the rotten End of a despicable Party.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker II 33: I had no notion afore our government was so rotten.
[US]World (N.Y.) 12 May 6/5: In the two games previously played with Washington he was, in the vernacular, ‘rotten.’.
[US]J.L. Williams Princeton Stories 175: Aw, let’s get out of here, this beer is rotten.
[UK]Gem 17 Oct. 5: Well, you rotten pig!
[US]Rising Sun 25 Dec. 3/2: Yer fought us square with baynit, and with rifle bomb and gun, / And didnt use no gasses, like your rotten pal, the Hun.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 202: ‘My gosh, I’ll bet it’s rotten.’ ‘On the contrary, it is extremely hot stuff.’.
[US]C. Odets Awake and Sing! I i: Who gave you such a rotten haircut?
[UK] in T. Harrisson Mass-Observation War Factory: Report 12: The rotten meals she gives us, it ought to be reported to somewhere high up, the way we’re treated here.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 130: Doreen. A rotten name, ain’t it?
[UK]N. Dunn Poor Cow 76: Oh this bleeding rotten poxy car.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 173: You seem to think more of your rotten friend than you do of your family at times !
[UK]Beano 26 June 6: Aunt Mat is such a rotten shot.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 14 Aug. 51: Rotten little shit!
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Get Some’ Generation Kill ep. 1 [TV script] A dirty-ass jerk-off letter from Suzy Rottencrotch.

2. a general intensifier, e.g. rotten luck, rotten bastard etc.

[UK]Webster Devil’s Law-Case IV ii: For I dare sweare that you will sweare a lye, A very filthy, stinking, rotten lye.
[US] ‘Bainbridge’s Tid-Re I’ in Jack Tar’s Songster 16: We could hardly hear anything for the rotten noise.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie II tab.IV viii: No rotten shirking, mind.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 178: Lady Hauterive (shuddering) ‘Beastly ’ is not a word for any lady to make use of. Mrs Bobbie Bobtail. Well, ‘rotten’ then, if you think it sounds better.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Victor Second’ Three Elephant Power 115: He expressed a (garnished) opinion that the publican’s mare was no rotten good.
[UK]Boys’ Realm 16 Jan. 264: ‘Just my rotten luck!’ he growled.
[UK]M. Marshall Tramp-Royal on the Toby 236: Tak’ your rotten sel’ aff or I’ll stop hurling this rotten thing and gi’e ye a bit o’ my rotten tongue!
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act IV: I was a raving rotten lunatic.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Billy Liar (1962) 181: You rotten get! You rotten, lying get!
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 36: Well, kiss my ass in Macey’s window – I’ll be a rotten mama-jabber!
[Aus]D. Ireland Burn 32: You’ll get off when your rotten bloody names are called out and not before!
[UK]A. Payne ‘You Need Hands’ Minder [TV script] 27: Refused credit on a few rotten gaskets!
[UK]Guardian Guide 29 May–4 June 54: What a dirty rotten scoundrel he is.

3. as infix.

[UK](con. 1954) J. McGrath Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun II ii: You’ll have to stay out here, like all us poor bastards, until January nineteen fifty rotten six.

4. (Aus.) very drunk; thus get rotten, to become very drunk.

[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 338: Drunk; jarred [...] canned; rotten; plasthered.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 61: Rotten, to get, to become exceedingly drunk.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 135: God, could I get rotten!
[Aus]A. Seymour One Day of the Year II iii: We poured bloody beer into the poor old cows till they couldn’t stand up, they was rotten.
[Aus]A. Chipper Aussie Swearers Guide 52: Non-Aussies are sometimes surprised to hear that rotten is basic Australian for ‘drunk’.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 363: You see someone staggerin’ and you think they’re rotten.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 92: [They] spend most of what little they have on the terps getting rotten.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

rotten apple (v.) [the throwing of rotten fruit]

(US) of an audience, to boo, hiss and generally give the actors a hard time.

[US]Alexandria Gaz. (DC) 14 Nov. 2/3: Gen. Butler is hissed and ‘rotten-appled’.
London Figaro Mar. in Ware (1909) 211/1: The last new American verb is ‘To rotten-apple’. Actors, it seems, in some of the minor New York theatres, are not infrequently rotten-appled, much in the same way as our legislative candidates in the old hustings days used to be ‘rotten-egged.’.
rotten orange (n.) [pun on SE rotten, stale/rotten, unpleasant; William had been Prince of Orange before ascending the English throne]

a pejorative term for a follower of King William III (r.1688–1702).

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 211/1: Rotten orange (Lower Peoples’, 1686). Term of contempt. Historical – from the name given by the Jacobites to William III. – Prince of Orange.

In phrases

rotten with (adj.)

usu, of money, well-supplied with; for cit. 1922, the orig. Shakespeare & Co. (Paris) edition has ‘rotten’; the Bodley Head UK edns. of 1937 ff. have rotto and are cited as such by OED and Partridge.

[Ire]Somerville & Ross Some Irish Yesterdays 173: That’s one of the Heth family! The hills is rotten with it.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 22: You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily? / — Yes. / — Spooning with him last night on the pier. The father is rotten with money.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 160: Pay? – Tommy pay? – he’s rotten with money!
[NZ]Eve. Post (N.Z.) 14 June 6/8: Rome was simply rotten with Fritzes.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 45: Rotten with booze I spose.
[UK]J. Iggulden Storms of Summer 297: Some rotten poxy bitch of a chromo [...] they reckon she was rotten with the jack.
[UK]G. Fletcher Down Among the Meths Men 79: You’re rotten with meths, you boozy bastard.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 61: The place was rotten with fuzz only day before yesterday.