\ˈmī(-ə)r \

Definition of mire 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wet spongy earth (as of a bog or marsh) the mire is relieved only by small stretches of open dry forestSaturday Review

2 : heavy often deep mud or slush The troops trudged onward through the mire.

3 : a troublesome or intractable situation found themselves in a mire of debt


mired; miring

Definition of mire (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to stick fast in or as if in mire The car was mired in the muck.

b : to hamper or hold back as if by mire : entangle The company has been mired in legal problems.

2 : to cover or soil with mire his mired boots

intransitive verb

: to stick or sink in mire a road in which horses and wagons mired regularly— Edmund Arnold

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Other Words from mire


miry \ ˈmīr-​ē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for mire

Synonyms: Noun

bind, box, catch-22, corner, dilemma, fix, hole, impasse, jackpot [chiefly West], jam, pickle, predicament, quagmire, rabbit hole, rattrap, spot, sticky wicket, swamp

Synonyms: Verb

befoul, begrime, bemire, besmirch, blacken, daub, dirty, distain [archaic], foul, gaum [dialect], grime, muck, muddy, smirch, smudge, soil, stain, sully

Antonyms: Verb

clean, cleanse

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Examples of mire in a Sentence


The troops marched onward through the muck and the mire. played on a football field that was thick with mire


the sight of the standard, which had emerged from the battle mangled and mired, still stirred the soldiers' hearts the case has been mired in probate court for years
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The deepening legal mire facing the President and the apparently looming military strike in Syria converged in Monday's stunning rant about his legal plight before a room full of top military brass. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Real-world consequences at stake in Trump's Russian roulette," 12 Apr. 2018 Laurent Koscielny has admitted that Arsenal are in the midst of a 'negative spiral' but backed his teammates to haul the club out of their current mire. SI.com, "Arsenal Star Admits Club Is Battling 'Negative Spiral' Ahead of AC Milan Showdown," 8 Mar. 2018 Here and Now, though, dives head-first into the mire of 2018. Jason Parham, WIRED, "The Fall of the TV Family in Trump's America," 28 Mar. 2018 But it has been dragged ever lower into the mire by Congressional special interests that are parochial in the extreme. Newsweek, "Amazing Photos of Bioluminescent Phytoplankton," 14 Mar. 2018 Mo Salah and Sadio Mane scored either side of half-time as Newcastle remained firmly entrenched in the relegation mire. SI.com, "Liverpool Fans Angered by Newcastle Supporters Mocking Former Reds Captain in Anfield Defeat," 4 Mar. 2018 Newcastle surrendered a two-goal lead with ten minutes remaining at Bournemouth on Saturday, as Dan Gosling's 89th minute equaliser kept the Magpies firmly entrenched in the relegation mire. SI.com, "Newcastle Fans Slam Spanish Forward as 'Absolute Liability' Following Draw at Bournemouth," 25 Feb. 2018 Let their dusky forms, rise up, out the mires of James Island, and give the answer. Lily Rothman, Time, "Read the Letter a Black Civil War Soldier Wrote Asking Abraham Lincoln for Equal Pay," 12 Feb. 2018 But by the 1960s, native Australian dung beetles were struggling in the mire of sticky, non-native cow pats. Richard Jones, Smithsonian, "All Praise The Humble Dung Beetle," 10 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Why get mired in moon-shot R&D when America’s buying 17 million cars either way? Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "In Defense of Elon Musk," 16 Oct. 2018 Match Group and the dating apps are always mired in drama. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Bumble asks court to rule Tinder patents invalid," 27 Sep. 2018 Soon after Addyi hit the market in 2015, the drug’s parent company became mired in an unrelated scandal, and marketing of the new pill suffered. Amanda Macmillan, Health.com, "The Controversial 'Female Viagra' Drug Is Back–Here's What You Need to Know," 14 June 2018 The statistics are worse in Philadelphia, mired in the highest rate of deep poverty of the largest U.S. cities. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "'Poor' is a 4-letter word in U.S. politics. These activists are fighting to change that | Will Bunch," 31 May 2018 In one, short year, a school system on the path to reform, being watched by an entire nation looking for the success recipe, became mired in multiple scandals. Washington Post, "D.C.’s school scandals are barely registering with the public. That shows how little we value education.," 19 Apr. 2018 Pruitt, already mired in several ethics and public spending controversies, happened to step down from his role at the agency three days later. Amy B Wang, chicagotribune.com, "Bookstore owner defends calling police on woman who told Steve Bannon he was 'a piece of trash'," 8 July 2018 Pruitt, already mired in several ethics and public spending controversies, happened to step down from his role at the agency three days later. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "Bookstore owner defends calling police on woman who told Steve Bannon he was ‘a piece of trash’," 8 July 2018 Venezuela, once prosperous though mired in corruption, now ranks as one of the most high-crime nations in the world and has the highest inflation rate. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "In socialist candidates' election success, some see ominous rejection of Democratic 'Old Guard'," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mire


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for mire


Middle English, from Old Norse mȳrr; akin to Old English mōs marsh — more at moss


see mire entry 1

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Learn More about mire

Dictionary Entries near mire


mirbane oil



mire crow


mire duck

Statistics for mire

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Time Traveler for mire

The first known use of mire was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for mire



English Language Learners Definition of mire

: thick and deep mud


\ˈmīr \

Kids Definition of mire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: heavy deep mud


mired; miring

Kids Definition of mire (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stick or cause to become stuck in or as if in heavy deep mud A wagon was mired in the swamp.


\ˈmī(ə)r \

Medical Definition of mire 

: any of the objects on the arm of an ophthalmometer that are used to measure astigmatism by the reflections they produce in the cornea when illuminated

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Comments on mire

What made you want to look up mire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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