Slang term for somebody with a genetic predisposition for bad behavior (and is potentially a bad influence on others).
The title of a 1954 novel by William March and of a 1955 play based on the book (and a 1956 film based on the play) about eight-year-old Rhoda Penmark, a girl who seems to have been born evil. Despite coming from a loving home, she is a sociopath who is willing to kill to get what she wants.
Rhoda Penmark, the original "bad seed", is a precocious con artist who uses her cute, innocent facade to manipulate adults to get what she wants. Her tricks don't work on other children, who can sense who she really is and avoid her.
It is implied heavily that Rhoda's behavior is genetic; her maternal grandmother was a serial killer who was executed for numerous poisonings. Rhoda's mother, who was adopted at a young age, has always sensed something wrong with her daughter and is suspicious when Rhoda is strangely nonchalant about her classmate's sudden, mysterious death.
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