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something is rotten in (the state of) Denmark.

Prov. something suspicious is going on. (From shakespeare's play Hamlet.) Jim: Look, there's a light on in the office, even though it's way past the time everyone should have left. John: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Jane: I wonder why Fred is coming in so late every morning. Jane: Something is rotten in Denmark.
See also: Denmark, rotten

something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Something is seriously amiss; there is a smell of corruption. This expression is a direct quotation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (4.1). Eric Partridge suggested that rotten was originally an analogy to cheese, for which Denmark has long been famous, and that possibly the expression was a catchphrase even when Shakespeare used it.
References in periodicals archive ?
I am very pleased that we could assist 51 companies in establishing a business here in Denmark last year.
In Denmark, Hitachi has been expanding its business particularly in the Information & Telecommunication Systems sector of the Social Innovation Business, mainly in storage solutions and consulting services.
PLAYED 13: WON 5, DREW 5, LOST 3 MOST RECENT MEETING: Denmark 0-4 Ireland.