See more synonyms for mare's-nest on
  1. something imagined to be an extraordinary discovery but proving to be a delusion or a hoax: The announced cure for the disease was merely another mare's-nest.
  2. an extremely confused, entangled, or disordered place, situation, etc.: We just moved in, and the place is a mare's-nest.

Origin of mare's-nest

First recorded in 1610–20 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for mare's-nest


  1. a discovery imagined to be important but proving worthless
  2. a disordered situation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012