Something is rotten in the state of Denmark


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.

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notes for Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is used to describe corruption or a situation in which something is wrong.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.