quagmire

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Recorded since 1579, from two virtual synonyms: obsolete quag (bog, marsh) (a variant of Middle English quabbe (a marsh, bog), 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 "difficult situation, inextricable position" is recorded since 1775.[1]

Alternative: Apparently a var. of the earlier quakemire, from quake + mire.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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References[edit]

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