a tract of low, soft, wet ground.
a marsh or bog.
marshy ground.
any confusing or troublesome situation, especially one from which it is difficult to free oneself; entanglement.

Origin of morass

1645–55; < Dutch moeras, alteration (by association with moer marsh; cf. moor1) of Middle Dutch maras < Old French mareis < Germanic. See marsh Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for morass

Contemporary Examples of morass

Historical Examples of morass

  • The street had been transformed into a morass of sticky mud by the storm.


    Emile Zola

  • O, into what a morass of sin has he not fallen, and every moment he goes deeper!

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Just at the mouth of it there was a morass filled with gad-flies and other poisonous insects.

  • On the way he had to pass a long and weary waste of heath and morass.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

  • A guide had been found who would guide the army across the morass.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

British Dictionary definitions for morass



a tract of swampy low-lying land
a disordered or muddled situation or circumstance, esp one that impedes progress

Word Origin for morass

C17: from Dutch moeras, ultimately from Old French marais marsh
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

Word Origin and History for morass

"wet, swampy tract," 1650s, from Dutch moeras "marsh, fen," from Middle Dutch marasch, from Old French marais "marsh," from Frankish, possibly from West Germanic *marisk, from Proto-Germanic *mariskaz "like a lake," from *mari "sea" (see mere (n.)). The word was influenced in Dutch by moer "moor" (see moor (n.)). Figurative use is attested from 1867. Replaced earlier mareis (early 14c.; see marish).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper