\ 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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some speculated that the reductions will slow the state’s recovery from a recession it has been mired in for three years. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Dunleavy budget vetoes will result in Alaska job losses, economists say," 4 July 2019 She has been mired in the single digits in recent polls, stuck in fourth place even in her home state. David Lauter, latimes.com, "Kamala Harris, known for caution, finds a risky move pays off against Joe Biden," 28 June 2019 And Trump would end the elite consensus on foreign policy that had mired young men and women from those forsaken places in faraway Forever Wars that represented the height of elite hubris and folly. Greg Sargent, The Denver Post, "Sargent: Trump’s Iran reversal exposes one of his most dangerous lies," 21 June 2019 Some consultants may promote short-term fixes that can mire students in more debt down the road, the report said. Ann Carrns, New York Times, "A Student Debt Payment Plan That Saves Now, Yet Costs More Later," 4 May 2018 The Brewers have been mired in a slump on the field, but three of their regular members of the lineup are putting together undeniable all-star seasons, and all three will be among those eligible to earn a starting spot in the 2019 All-Star Game. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Yasmani Grandal, Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas move on to 'Starters' portion of all-star vote," 21 June 2019 And for all the talk of a pivot to Asia, U.S. policy was once again mired in an effort to play catch-up in the Middle East, sucking up time, attention, and resources that were needed elsewhere. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 2019 Kids was mired in the predilections and obsessions of Korine and the director/photographer Larry Clark. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Euphoria’s Familiar Moral Panic," 19 June 2019 The 21-year-old Cuban slugger had previously been mired at Triple-A Round Rock for 56 games in 2019, bashing 23 dingers along with 38 walks. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "New Kid in H-Town: Pitchers Should Fear the Astros' Latest Rookie Thumper," 18 June 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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Dictionary Entries near mire


mirbane oil



mire crow


mire duck

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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 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

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