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.
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