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 Securing adequate international health insurance, for example, became a bureaucratic quagmire. Jim Olson, Fortune, "After 2020, we all need a gap year," 25 Dec. 2020 Doing so could give Intel access to third-party manufacturing technologies without entirely outsourcing its designs—and that might give Intel a rope to pull itself out of its own manufacturing quagmire. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel CEO considers bringing in outside help to aid manufacturing," 11 Jan. 2021 Without a grand jury to both hear evidence and recommend charges, the system falls into a quagmire. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Jury trials resume on a test basis after monthslong pandemic hiatus," 13 Jan. 2021 So much has fed into our quagmire: a lack of national leadership, the perpetuation of misinformation. Caroline Chen, ProPublica, "The Enraging Deja Vu of a Third Coronavirus Wave," 13 Nov. 2020 For every prior authorization request, a provider can lose up to an hour or more wading through an administrative quagmire. Brian Barnett, STAT, "Who’s choosing Americans’ medications — doctors or insurers? The bane of prior authorization," 1 Jan. 2021 The money goes to an athletic department and university in the midst of a longstanding financial quagmire further complicated by COVID-19. courant.com, "Mike Anthony: UConn basketball season ticket holders have gifted nearly $2 million to university; fans shut out, but continue to chip in," 31 Dec. 2020 Instead, the two sides agreed to a narrower pact that still allows trade without tariffs or quotas, but throws thousands of businesses into a bureaucratic quagmire and leaves Britain’s enormous financial services sector in limbo. Los Angeles Times, "Auld lang syne: Britain and the EU finally part ways," 31 Dec. 2020 Even his status as a viable backup is now in question, as the 49ers’ quarterback predicament is a quagmire, a black hole, with no clear way out. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Poster team for 2020 sports? How about 49ers?," 20 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for quagmire

Time Traveler

The first known use of quagmire was circa 1580

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Statistics for quagmire

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quagmire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quagmire. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quagmire

Nglish: Translation of quagmire for Spanish Speakers

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