Is It A Bad Rap or A Bad Rep?

There are three English phrases that are often confused: bad wrap, bad rap, and bad rep. How can you tell them apart?

It is very important to understand how a bad rap and a bad rep are different. This will make your writing more easily understood and well respected.

So, let’s dive into the differences between these two commonly used phrases.

The Differences Between Bad Rap and Bad Rep

The purpose of this post is to teach you when to use bad rap and when using bad rep is more appropriate. The best way to truly understand these phrases is to see them in sentences. That way, you can learn how they appear in context.

After our examples, I’ll also teach you a handy mnemonic to help you choose the best phrase between bad rap and bad rep.

When to Use Bad Rap

Definition of bad rap: Bad rap is a noun phrase that means a negative reputation.

Bad is used as an adjective in the phrase bad rap. Rap means negative allegations. Maybe you’ve heard rap used in the phrase rap sheet, which means a criminal record.

So, a bad rap is a list of bad behavior. Here are some example sentences to broaden your understanding:

  • You will get a bad rap at the office if you don’t clean up after yourself in the kitchen.
  • Richard earned a bad rap because he went on too many first dates and very few second dates.
  • That student has a bad rap for skipping so many classes.

Just a side note that if you see the phrase bad wrap used instead of bad rap, it is a mistake. A wrap is a type of sandwich, so a bad wrap is a bad sandwich. Therefore, don’t use bad wrap when talking about a list of negative behaviors. That, of course, is a bad rap!

When to Use Bad Rep

Definition of bad rep: Bad rep is actually just a misspelling of the phrase bad rap. People get confused because they think that rep is used as an abbreviation of reputation—also, rep and rap sound very similar.

It’s easy to see how people would get confused between bad rap and bad rep

How to Remember the Difference

The only correct term is bad rap. You should never use bad wrap or bad rep

One easy way to remember this is to go back to the well-known phrase rap sheet. Most people know that rap in that phrase means a negative allegation. So if you just remember the meaning of that word, it will be easy to recall that bad rap is the only correct version of this phrase.


So is it bad rap or bad rep? 

A bad rap is a negative reputation 

Bad rep is a misspelling of this phrase. 

Always use bad rap!

Related:  Ever wondered what Duly Noted means, and whether its Duly or Dully?  Check out this article next!

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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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