from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hoax or fraud.
  • n. An extraordinarily complicated situation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A great discovery which turns out to be illusory; a hoax.
  • n. A confused or complicated situation; a muddle.


From mare's + nest. Compare horse-nest. (Wiktionary)


Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • A mare's nest is an illusion or disappointment. The phrase originally started as "horse nest". The meaning comes from the fact that mares don't make nests; therefore, if someone claims to find one, it is an illusion.

    August 1, 2008