Etymology (Meaning of Words)/origin of a phrase
rjjhaynes wrote at 2013-12-14 23:50:15
If you have ever peeled quantities of boiled eggs, you will surely notice some are "good eggs" and some are "bad eggs". The good eggs peel very easily and are a joy to work with; the bad eggs have shells that stubbornly resist peeling and are very frustrating and time-consuming. I've been know to throw a "bad egg" in the trash out of aggravation. While my mother was peeling eggs recently, I heard her comment, "That's a good egg!", and "That's a bad egg!" It dawned on me that this is probably where the term got started...in the kitchen eons ago.
James Tusk George wrote at 2014-03-19 05:22:34
Interestingly "Bad Egg" is used in Chinese to mean "a bad man" (š’` huai4 dan4) and Wodehouse lived in Hong Kong until he was 4.
Being a judge it would not be unlikely for his father to have spoken about good and bad people, and to a young child he may well have borrowed the term "bad egg" to describe the villians. It's not a huge leap to extrapolate "good egg" from that, it's a pretty logical jump.
It's certainly an interesting co-incidence if the term doesn't come from Chinese, it would be interesting to know if there is any proof that it was used before Wodehouse.