quag·​mire | \ ˈkwag-ˌmī(-ə)r How to pronounce quagmire (audio) , ˈkwäg- How to pronounce quagmire (audio) \

Definition of quagmire

1 : soft miry land that shakes or yields under the foot
2 : a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position : predicament

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Examples of quagmire in a Sentence

A Girl of the Limberlost is a Cinderella story whose wicked stepmother, in an interesting twist, is the heroine's real mother. She is a crazy person, deranged by grief for a husband who was sucked into a quagmire before her eyes when she was pregnant with Elnora. — Janet Malcolm, New York Review of Books, 15 Jan. 2009 That was six months ago, when the Defense secretary laughingly dismissed the idea that Iraq was, or could turn into, a quagmire. But as Rumsfeld sat down last Friday morning to face Sen. John McCain, who spent six years in a Vietnamese prison, no one was laughing. — Michael Hirsh et al., Newsweek, 17 Nov. 2003 State involvement will create a vast bioethical quagmire. Even if everyone magically agrees that improving a child's memory is as valid as avoiding dyslexia, there will still be things taxpayers aren't ready to pay for—genes of unproven benefit, say, or alterations whose downsides may exceed the upside. — Robert Wright, Time, 11 Jan.1999 the party was once again facing its quadrennial quagmire: the candidate sufficiently liberal to win the nomination would be too liberal for the general election a protracted custody dispute that became a judicial quagmire
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Recent Examples on the Web

But the terrible thing here is that, despite the story Trump told about elite failure, the Iran deal was one case in which international elites actually did set up a framework that likely would have averted senseless, costly foreign quagmires. Greg Sargent, The Denver Post, "Sargent: Trump’s Iran reversal exposes one of his most dangerous lies," 21 June 2019 And if war comes, the mullahs are ready to trap America in another Middle Eastern quagmire. Reuel Marc Gerecht And Ray Takeyh, WSJ, "America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran," 16 June 2019 Today, thanks to the beavers, the swamp is more of a pond than quagmire. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "A fun visit to a hollow full of waterfalls, mountain laurel and rock formations in East Haddam," 14 June 2019 Though the survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is now virtually guaranteed, this is a Pyrrhic victory: Iran has been dragged into a costly quagmire with no end in sight. Thomas Juneau, Washington Post, "Why Iran’s involvement in Syria may backfire," 12 June 2018 The Giants’ quagmire is best understood in the light of these rookies. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Sticking With Eli Manning Has Torpedoed the Giants—Again," 21 Oct. 2018 And while Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, has vowed to be something of a middleman to help improve the increasingly hostile relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, playing two sides inserts Islamabad into something of a quagmire. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Iran, in shadow proxy war with Saudis, expands its Pakistan influence," 12 Sep. 2018 Is there a way out of this moral and fiscal quagmire? Steve H. Hanke And Stephen J.k. Walters, WSJ, "Lying Prices Keep America Hooked on Spending," 7 Jan. 2019 But unlike in Bahrain, the Saudi intervention in Yemen turned into a quagmire. Kamran Bokhari, WSJ, "Don’t Let Yemen Become a Proxy of Iran," 16 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quagmire.' 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 quagmire

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for quagmire

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for quagmire

The first known use of quagmire was circa 1580

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More Definitions for quagmire



English Language Learners Definition of quagmire

: an area of soft, wet ground
: a situation that is hard to deal with or get out of : a situation that is full of problems


quag·​mire | \ ˈkwag-ˌmīr How to pronounce quagmire (audio) \

Kids Definition of quagmire

1 : soft spongy wet ground that shakes or gives way under the foot
2 : a difficult situation Repairing the old house became a costly quagmire.

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More from Merriam-Webster on quagmire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quagmire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quagmire

Spanish Central: Translation of quagmire

Nglish: Translation of quagmire for Spanish Speakers

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