[kwag-mahyuhr, kwog-]


an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the tread; a bog.
a situation from which extrication is very difficult: a quagmire of financial indebtedness.
anything soft or flabby.

Origin of quagmire

First recorded in 1570–80; quag + mire
Related formsquag·mir·y, adjective

Synonyms for quagmire

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quagmire

Contemporary Examples of quagmire

Historical Examples of quagmire

  • But now am I indeed fast stuck in a quagmire of uncertainty.

  • The road through Thiepval was a bog, the village was a quagmire.

    The Old Front Line

    John Masefield

  • The pond was a thin piece of canvas painted to represent the quagmire.

  • Already our horses were stumbling over corpses as if in a quagmire.

  • The lane was muddy even in the roadway, and on the banks it was a quagmire.

    A Dog with a Bad Name

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for quagmire



a soft wet area of land that gives way under the feet; bog
an awkward, complex, or embarrassing situation

Word Origin for quagmire

C16: from quag + mire
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 quagmire

1570s, "bog, marsh," from obsolete quag "bog, marsh" + mire (n.). Early spellings include quamyre (1550s), quabmire (1590s), quadmire (c.1600). Extended sense of "difficult situation, inescapable bad position" is recorded by 1766; but this seems to have been not in common use in much of 19c. (absent in "Century Dictionary," 1902), but revived in a narrower sense in reference to military invasions in American English, 1965, with reference to Vietnam (popularized in the book title "The Making of a Quagmire" by David Halberstam).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper