\ ˈmī(-ə)r How to pronounce mire (audio) \

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 How to pronounce miry (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for mire

Synonyms: Noun

guck (or gook), muck, mud, ooze, slime, slop, sludge, slush

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

Northern European countries shelter large expanses of peatlands—sometimes called moors, bogs or mires—that perhaps offer the greatest opportunity for natural climate mitigation. Ciara Nugent / Wallasea Island, Time, "The Best Way to Save Nature? More Nature," 12 Sep. 2019 Armored trucks rumble over squishy mud, combat boots trample through rain and mire. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Atlantis': Film Review | Venice 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 To follow the shadowy mire of this saga, which potentially implicates scores of individuals and involves layers of misdirection, is to yearn for an ever-elusive clarity. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Gall of Ghislaine Maxwell," 16 Aug. 2019 But perhaps out of fear of being dragged back into the mire of racial theory, science classes today are largely silent on biology and identity—avoiding the legacy of racial science rather than actively teaching against it. Charles King, Time, "American Students Are Taught Racism Is Bad—But They're Still Not Learning the Truth About Race," 6 Aug. 2019 The Sergeant' pulled Lazio out of the mire on countless occasions, dragging his over-achieving side kicking and screaming up the Serie A table. SI.com, "Sergej Milinković-Savić: Lazio's Star Midfielder Is the Complete Midfielder Man Utd Need," 25 July 2019 Much of the first half confines the action to the murk, muck, mire and thrashings in the crawlspace. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Crawl’ review: Chicago, your alligator movie has arrived. Capture that Humboldt Park lagoon creature NOW!!!," 12 July 2019 United’s next four games over English soccer’s hectic festive period are against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle, which either offer Mourinho a chance to make up ground or to slip further into the mire. Steve Douglas, The Seattle Times, "Pogba or Mourinho: Who will last longer at United?," 17 Dec. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His numbers somewhat rebounded later on, but he was usually mired in mid-40s approval. Jay Cost, National Review, "In Praise of Gerald Ford," 9 Sep. 2019 At the time, I was mired in shame, guilt and humiliation. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "Jeffrey Epstein's accusers had their day in court, but not in the way they had hoped for," 27 Aug. 2019 Many San Francisco cabdrivers say they are mired in debt paying off their $250,000 medallions — permits allowing them to run their own cabs. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "‘We cannot make a living’: SF cabdrivers’ debts mount amid Uber, Lyft battle," 23 Aug. 2019 Burrows' resignation comes as he is mired in a controversy that has gripped Texas politics and engulfed Bonnen's speakership for the last three weeks. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Rep. Dustin Burrows, embarrassed in ‘target list’ incident, resigns as Texas House GOP caucus chief," 16 Aug. 2019 And it is mired in a bitter legal fight with Ackerman McQueen, an advertising firm that was for decades its most influential contractor. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "How Gun Control Groups Are Catching Up to the N.R.A.," 4 Aug. 2019 But while Williamson touches on these issues on the campaign trail, she doesn’t get mired in them. Jenni Avins, Quartzy, "Marianne Williamson is campaigning with the language of self-help and spirituality," 30 July 2019 Also, he's been mired by legal trouble after being arrested twice during this past offseason. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Arizona sports weekend: Diamondbacks in limbo, Kyler Murray shines, Brittney Griner slams," 29 July 2019 Personal tensions flare up, or they get mired in opaque issues of procedure and terminology. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "A school teetering on the brink in ‘Greater Good’," 22 July 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Learn More about mire

Dictionary Entries near mire


mirbane oil



mire crow


mire duck

Statistics for mire

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce mire (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mire (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on mire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mire

Spanish Central: Translation of mire

Nglish: Translation of mire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mire for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mire

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