Searched wiktionary but seems none of the explanations in it makes sense.

  • en.wiktionary.org/wiki/breaking_bad
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 28 '13 at 10:12
  • Don’t feel bad: I had no idea what it meant either, and I’m a native speaker. I’m just not hip to “Suthun” slang. A more widely used synonym would appear to be “going bad” used with reference to a person who became a black sheep, not to spoiled milk. :)
    – tchrist
    Aug 28 '13 at 12:29

You'll want to look up the term break bad:

(colloquial, southern US) to go wrong, of people or events, including to turn toward a life of crime or immoral activity

The title of the series is a play on the phrase.

  • 1
    Thanks, I think that makes sense since it's happening in the southern US! Aug 28 '13 at 8:31

break : (copulative, informal) To suddenly become.
Things began breaking bad for him when his parents died.
The arrest was standard, when suddenly the suspect broke ugly.

  • +1, but it's interesting that this comes from Wiktionary, which the OP has already looked at...
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 28 '13 at 7:49
  • It's also interesting that Wiktionary has this sense defined under the lemma 'break' and a separate MWV entry for 'break bad' (Amory's link). Aug 28 '13 at 8:33
  • @EdwinAshworth Wiktionary's goal (which it is far, far from) is truly massive. Definitions, etymology, pronunciation, and synonyms for every word and phrase from every language on Earth.
    – Amory
    Aug 28 '13 at 14:16

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