morass

noun mo·rass \ mə-ˈras , mȯ- \
Updated on: 24 Nov 2017

Definition of morass

1 : marsh, swamp
2 a : a situation that traps, confuses, or impedes
  • a legal morass
b : an overwhelming or confusing mass or mixture
  • a morass of traffic jams
  • —Mary Roach

morassy

play \-ˈra-sē\ adjective

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Examples of morass in a Sentence

  1. advised against becoming involved in that country's civil war, warning that escape from that morass might prove nigh impossible

  2. the distracted driver had driven his car off the road and into a morass

Recent Examples of morass from the Web

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

The Swampy History of morass

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

morass Synonyms


MORASS Defined for English Language Learners

morass

noun

Definition of morass for English Language Learners

  • : an area of soft, wet ground : a marsh or swamp


MORASS Defined for Kids

morass

noun mo·rass \ mə-ˈras \

Definition of morass for Students



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