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quagmire

[kwag-mahyuh r, kwog-] /ˈkwægˌmaɪər, ˈkwɒg-/
noun
1.
an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the tread; a bog.
2.
a situation from which extrication is very difficult:
a quagmire of financial indebtedness.
3.
anything soft or flabby.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; quag + mire
Related forms
quagmiry, adjective
Synonyms
2. predicament, dilemma, quandary, scrape, jam.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for quagmires
  • Daytime temperatures rose enough to thaw the ground, and the heavily laden wagons became half-sunk in quagmires.
  • The presence of permafrost required that careful attention be paid to construction to avoid permanent quagmires.
  • In many cases, fen zones could be considered quagmires with floating or quaking surface mats of emergent vegetation.
  • Vats of vast areas have formed which are perfect quagmires of chemicals under constant action.
  • It's interesting, when we've been in several quagmires since the war on terrorism began.
British Dictionary definitions for quagmires

quagmire

/ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə; ˈkwɒɡ-/
noun
1.
a soft wet area of land that gives way under the feet; bog
2.
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 quagmires

quagmire

n.

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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