morass was our Word of the Day on 03/17/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of morass in a sentence
advised against becoming involved in that country's civil war, warning that escape from that morass might prove nigh impossible
the distracted driver had driven his car off the road and into a morass
Did You Know?
We won't swamp you with details: morass comes from the Dutch word moeras, which itself derives from an Old French word, maresc, meaning "marsh." Morass has been part of English for centuries, and in its earliest uses it was a synonym of swamp or marsh. (That was the sense Robert Louis Stevenson used when he described Long John Silver emerging from "a low white vapour that had crawled during the night out of the morass" in Treasure Island.) Imagine walking through a thick, muddy swamp—it's easy to compare such slogging to trying to disentangle yourself from a sticky situation. By the mid-19th century, morass had gained a figurative sense, and could refer to any predicament that was as murky, confusing, or difficult to navigate as a literal swamp or quagmire.
Origin and Etymology of morass
Dutch moeras, modification of Old French maresc, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English mersc marsh — more at marsh
First Known Use: 1655
MORASS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of morass for English Language Learners
: an area of soft, wet ground : a marsh or swamp
MORASS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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