Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Cultural Dictionary

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark definition


A line from the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. An officer of the palace guard says this after the ghost of the dead king appears, walking over the palace walls.

Note: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is used to describe corruption or a situation in which something is wrong.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: something in the wind
Next Definition: something like
More from Thesaurus.com
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature