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A quagmire or swamp in Louisiana, United States


Recorded since 1579, from two virtual synonyms: obsolete English quag ‎(bog, marsh) (a variant of Middle English quabbe ‎(bog, marsh), from Old English *cwabba ‎(shake, tremble like something soft and flabby); cognate with Dutch kwab) + mire (from Middle English, from Old Norse mýrr, akin to Old English mōs ‎(marsh) and English moss). The sense “perilous, mixed up and troubled situation” has been recorded since 1775.[1]

Alternatively, the word may apparently be a variation of the earlier quakemire, from quake + mire.[2]



quagmire ‎(plural quagmires)

  1. A swampy, soggy area of ground.
    That quagmire regularly ‘swallows’ caught-up hikers' boots
  2. (figuratively) A perilous, mixed up and troubled situation; a hopeless tangle; a predicament.
    The paperwork got lost in a quagmire of bureaucracy.
    Those election results are a quagmire for any coalition except one of national union



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


quagmire ‎(third-person singular simple present quagmires, present participle quagmiring, simple past and past participle quagmired)

  1. (transitive) To embroil (a person, etc.) in complexity or difficulty.


  1. ^ quagmire” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  2. ^ quagmire in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.
  • quagmire at OneLook Dictionary Search.