rogue state [noun] [de schurkenstaat, de schurkenstaten] [‘sgur-kun-staat’]

“Schurkenstaat” is a word that is used for a state that poses a threat to world peace or safety. We are not sure when it first appeared in the Dutch language. It is a combination of the words “schurken” and “staat”.

A “schurk” is a bit of an old-fashioned word and translates to “villain”, “scoundrel”, “crook” (or similar). You will not encounter it much in daily speech. The word “staat” translates to “state”, “nation” or “country” depending on context.

So, literally a “schurkenstaat” would be a “state of villains”, but the common meaning is that of a state that poses a threat to world peace or safety. You might see the word in newspaper articles or hear it on the news when certain Middle Eastern countries or North Korea are discussed. You can compare it with the “Axis of Evil” terminology introduced by  George W. Bush. However, “schurkenstaat” is not limited to a defined set of countries and you can apply the label “schurkenstaat” to any country that you think meets the definition 🙂

– “Wat denk jij, is het aantal schurkenstaten toegenomen of afgenomen in de laatste tien jaar?”
(“What do you think, has the number of rogue states increased or decreased in the past ten years?”)

– “Is Libië nu wel of niet een schurkenstaat?”
(“Now, is Libya a rogue state, or is it not?”)

Related words:
– “Boef”: scoundrel, rascal.
– “Slechterik”: a bad person (derived from “slecht”: bad).