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

What would seem like a fairly routine request to split his Audi-Porsche dealership, just off a Route 128 ramp in town, into two separate buildings has turned into a legal quagmire. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Herb Chambers squares off against Burlington planning board over dealership project," 28 Aug. 2019 By claiming not just that elites were foolishly sinking us into such quagmires, but also that our elites were weak, and allowing other countries to take us to the cleaners. Greg Sargent, The Denver Post, "Sargent: Trump’s Iran reversal exposes one of his most dangerous lies," 21 June 2019 Many theorists prefer to extend this simple and effective understanding rather than enter a QCD quagmire. Quanta Magazine, "Quark Quartet Fuels Quantum Feud," 27 Aug. 2014 The deal comes as part of a wider understanding between Russia and Turkey on Syria, a geopolitical quagmire that has become a wedge between Ankara and Washington. Umar Farooq, latimes.com, "Turkey receives missiles from Russia, rebukes from Congress," 13 July 2019 This delightfully satiric take on the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire revolves around a third-rate soap opera and a border checkpoint where creativity — and helpings of hummus -- trump ethnic conflict. SFChronicle.com, "Capsule movie reviews for Aug. 18," 14 Aug. 2019 Plus, the ground near the shed will turn into a soggy, muddy quagmire after every rainstorm. Don’t tuck the shed deep into the woods where it’ll be completely surrounded by trees and ground cover. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build Your Own Shed (in 7 Steps)," 29 July 2019 For my children’s sake, my favorites are the planks numbered 3.1 and 3.3, promoting a strong defense but also opposed to foreign entanglements such as the quagmires of Vietnam and Afghanistan. Lincoln Chafee, BostonGlobe.com, "Lincoln Chafee: The party of peace: Why I joined the Libertarian Party," 19 July 2019 The structure of these treaties has also run into legal quagmires, especially in India, where the government couldn’t collect $2.2 billion from Vodafone’s acquisition of an Indian operating company through offshore firms including one in Mauritius. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "How an idyllic African island became a tax haven for some of the world’s biggest corporations," 23 July 2019

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

15 Sep 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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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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