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Definition quagmire

Etymology

Recorded since 1579, from two virtual synonyms: obsolete English quag (“bog, marsh”) (a variant of Middle English quabbe (“bog, marsh”), from Old English *cwabba (“shake, tremble like something soft and flabby”); cognate with Dutch kwab) + mire (from Middle English, from Old Norse mýrr, akin to Old English mōs (“marsh”) and English moss). The sense “perilous, mixed up and troubled situation” has been recorded since 1775.

Alternatively, the word may apparently be a variation of the earlier quakemire, from quake + mire.

Noun

quagmire (plural quagmires)

  1. A swampy, soggy area of ground.
  2. (figuratively) A perilous, mixed up and troubled situation; a hopeless tangle; a predicament.

Verb

quagmire (third-person singular simple present quagmires, present participle quagmiring, simple past and past participle quagmired)

  1. (transitive) To embroil (a person, etc.) in complexity or difficulty.

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