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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Russia's invasion of Ukraine appears not to be going according to plan, and President Vladimir Putin seems intent on blaming his old colleagues at the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) – the intelligence agency successor to the KGB – for the quagmire. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, 12 Apr. 2022 Older Russians will remember the way that rampant military spending and the quagmire in Afghanistan during the 1980s contributed to the Soviet Union collapsing under its own weight. CNN, 2 Mar. 2022 Initial paralysis by the international community and by Clinton, who feared getting stuck in a Vietnam-like quagmire, infuriated Dr. Albright. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 Who will intervene to stop it? — were being asked as Vietnam turned into a quagmire, and they are being asked again now about Ukraine. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 That, along with his nuclear threats, have caused concern about how far a desperate Russian leader, who has effectively made his own political survival contingent on a war that is turning into a quagmire, might go. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 Mar. 2022 The Soviet Union sought to keep a similar veil of silence around its decade-long quagmire in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but the truth seeped into public consciousness anyway, eroding the foundation of the entire system. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 Seeking to avoid an Afghanistan-style quagmire, Russian air power pulverized Syrian cities from above, cementing the Chechnya model. Max Fisher, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Mar. 2022 This quagmire would cause a terrible loss of life, destruction, displacement, depopulation of urban areas, a massive humanitarian catastrophe, as well as terrible losses for Russia, without a conclusive outcome for Russia. Peter Bergen, CNN, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of quagmire

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of quagmire was circa 1580

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Last Updated

28 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quagmire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quagmire. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for quagmire


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on quagmire

Nglish: Translation of quagmire for Spanish Speakers


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