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[kwag-mahyuh r, kwog-] /ˈkwægˌmaɪər, ˈkwɒg-/
an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the tread; a bog.
a situation from which extrication is very difficult:
a quagmire of financial indebtedness.
anything soft or flabby.
Origin of quagmire
1570-80; quag + mire
Related forms
quagmiry, adjective
2. predicament, dilemma, quandary, scrape, jam. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for quagmire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Si kept his gun on those in the quagmire, while Shorty attended to the others as they came back.

  • In coming up out of the quagmire she had got mud on her feet.

  • They crossed the street to avoid a quagmire, but the sound of revelry followed them.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes
  • Woe to the artist who falls into the quagmire of unbalanced intuition!

    The Complex Vision John Cowper Powys
  • He had been fighting against an awful idea, and the quagmire of despair had risen to his throat at last.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for quagmire


/ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə; ˈkwɒɡ-/
a soft wet area of land that gives way under the feet; bog
an awkward, complex, or embarrassing situation
Word Origin
C16: from quag + mire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quagmire

1570s, "bog, marsh," from obsolete quag "bog, marsh" + mire (n.). Early spellings include quamyre (1550s), quabmire (1590s), quadmire (c.1600). Extended sense of "difficult situation, inescapable bad position" is recorded by 1766; but this seems to have been not in common use in much of 19c. (absent in "Century Dictionary," 1902), but revived in a narrower sense in reference to military invasions in American English, 1965, with reference to Vietnam (popularized in the book title "The Making of a Quagmire" by David Halberstam).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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