\ 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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Rockies are mired in last place and have far more questions than answers, making their season one of the most disappointing in Colorado’s professional sports history. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "2019 Rockies? 1999 Broncos? Ranking Colorado’s most-disappointing pro sports seasons," 25 Aug. 2019 And other giants like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are all mired in controversy over it. Sigal Samuel, Vox, "Facebook is building tech to read your mind. The ethical implications are staggering.," 5 Aug. 2019 The protests come at a tricky time for Xi, who’s mired in the U.S.-China trade war and determined to portray a strong image of himself and China this year, the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Sabra Ayres, Los Angeles Times, "Amid protests, defiance against Kremlin and Beijing rises," 2 Aug. 2019 In Guatemala City, social and student organizations spoke out against the agreement in front of the Constitutional Court, on the grounds that the country is mired in poverty and unemployment and has no capacity to serve migrants. Washington Post, "US, Guatemala sign agreement to restrict asylum cases," 27 July 2019 In Guatemala City, social and student organizations spoke out against the agreement in front of the Constitutional Court, on the grounds that the country is mired in poverty and unemployment and has no capacity to serve migrants. Zeke Miller And Colleen Long, chicagotribune.com, "Guatemala signs a deal with U.S. to restrict asylum cases from Central America," 26 July 2019 He has been mired in the middle of the pack of the top six candidates, and his campaign has far less cash in the bank. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "California Republicans try to bury differences for the sake of survival," 5 May 2018 Let’s set aside K-through-12 because that’s been mired in troubles and all kinds of arguments, in the United States at least. Eric Johnson, Vox, "“The $300 textbook is dead,” says the CEO of textbook maker Pearson," 2 Aug. 2019 Sorkin writes that the idea could have lots of unintended consequences, including miring companies in yet more litigation. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Putting Ethics on Par With Shareholder Value: CEO Daily," 30 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

20 Aug 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

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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