Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 18, 2001


\KWAG-myr; KWOG-\ , noun;
Soft, wet, miry land that shakes or yields under the feet.
A difficult or precarious position or situation; a predicament.
. . .drenching rains that reduced all the roads to quagmires.
-- "The Career of a Soldier", New York Times, July 24, 1885
Slowly, inevitably, over the course of several months, Don Jaime's pupil draws him into a quagmire of plot and counterplot.
-- Walter Satterthwait, "Crossing Swords", New York Times, June 6, 1999
While the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he was awarded in 1957, should have signaled the pinnacle of Camus's career, it came at a time when he was struggling in the deepening quagmire of the Algerian war.
-- Isabelle de Courtivron, "Rebel Without a Cause", New York Times, December 14, 1997
Quagmire is from quag, a dialectical variant of quake (from Old English cwacian) + mire, from Old Norse myrr, "a swamp."
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