Definitions

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

  • n. Land with a soft muddy surface.
  • n. A difficult or precarious situation; a predicament.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A swampy, soggy area of ground.
  • n. A perilous, mixed up and troubled situation; a hopeless tangle; a predicament.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Soft, wet, miry land, which shakes or yields under the feet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Soft, wet, boggy land that trembles under the foot; a marsh; a bog; a fen.
  • n. Synonyms Slough, Bog, etc. See marsh.
  • To entangle or sink in or as in a quagmire.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot

Etymologies

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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • To call recent storylines a quagmire would cause me to go look up ‘quagmire‘ and make sure I’m using it correctly “a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position”, yeah he’s had a few of those.

    The Fifth Color – Accentuate the Positive

  • HEUVEL: John McCain is -- gives new meaning to the term quagmire as a warmonger, has an 82 percent American Conservative Union rating.

    CNN Transcript Feb 7, 2008

  • Long before the word quagmire was applied to Vietnam, Mark Twain used it to describe America's Philippines entanglement, which he vigorously opposed.

    NYT > Home Page

  • This quagmire is the legacy of the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

    10/22/2005

  • About the other candidates, he said, excuse me, he was -- you know that Steve Martin thing, excuse me, he was the only major candidate who made the right judgment, and said, don't tell me this guy can't deal with national security when the Bush people and some of the Democrat candidates supported him in getting us into what he calls a quagmire, that's a Vietnam phrase.

    CNN Transcript Dec 9, 2003

  • He regrets that he chose the phrase 'tar baby,' rather than the word 'quagmire.'

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • The only way of getting the economy out of the quagmire is by lowering public sector wages, said Rachlevsky.

    Israel's Public Sector, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Either course of action will bring short-term howls of recrimination from the right ... but this mini-surge deeper into the quagmire is going to sink the administration without question. declining 35 percent approval rating for management of the war in Afghanistan

    Five questions for Obama on Afghan war

  • The whole middle east quagmire is as a result of the U.S. policy in backing the most unbending nation in the world.

    Kennedy says no to joint ticket

  • Unfortunately it seems like the Democratic quagmire is full of emotion and very little reasoning.

    Obama picks up superdelegate

Comments

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  • The Beastie Boys loves 'em some Boggle.

    March 23, 2010

  • It was my good lucke or my ill, I know not which, to come iust to ye fighting of the battel, where I sawe a wonderfull spectacle of bloud shed on both sides, here the vnwildie swizers wallowing in their gore, like an oxe in his doung, there the sprightly French sprawling and turning on the stayned grasse, like a roach newe taken out of the streame, all the ground was strewed as thicke with battle axes, as the carpenters yard with chips. The plaine appeared like a quagmire, ouerspread as it was with trampled dead bodies. In one place might you beholde a heape of dead murthered men ouerwhelmed with a falling steed, in stead of a tombe stone, in another place a bundle of bodies fettered together in theyr owne bowels, and as the tyrant Romane Empereurs vsed to tie condemned liuing caitifes face to face to dead corses, so were the halfe liuing here mixt with squeazed carcases long putrifide.

    - Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller, 1594

    March 6, 2010

  • Hang on! Before I sat down to dinner the Total Word Count stood at 400,008, hence my conclusion about 'quagmire'. Now I've commented, the Total Word Count is 399,988! Now I'm in a quagmire. Have 20 Wordies deleted 20 words from lists more than they've added in 2 hours? At this rate we'll be extinct in 20,001 hours. Dumb. Lost for words. Gagged. Not a good word to be said. And here we are on the edge of extinction and all you can think about is sex! Speechless. Can't find the words to express ......

    May 8, 2008

  • By my calculations the 400,000th listing of a word not already listed by the same Wordie. (When you list a word it only counts toward this total the first time you post it). Some will find an interest in the 'qua' coincidence. And the fact that 'quack' is currently topical. And nuttylichee, who didn't duck the opportunity.

    May 8, 2008

  • Quagmire: "Does this look like a Q to you?"
    Woman: "Aaaah!"
    Quagmire: "How about now?"

    for more info, see comments on giggot.

    March 25, 2008

  • Beautiful word! It can be translated as acquitrino in Italian, with the same effect on people (weird face).

    March 25, 2008

  • Who else but Quagmire?

    December 9, 2006

  • Qua what?

    December 8, 2006