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.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈkwɒɡ.maɪə(ɹ)/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈkwæɡ.maɪəɹ/
- Hyphenation: quag‧mire
quagmire (plural quagmires)
- A swampy, soggy area of ground.
That quagmire regularly ‘swallows’ caught-up hikers' boots
- (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
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- quagmire at OneLook Dictionary Search.