[ kwag-mahyuhr, kwog- ]
/ ˈkwægˌmaɪər, ˈkwɒg- /


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.

Nearby words

  1. quaestorial,
  2. quaff,
  3. quag,
  4. quagga,
  5. quaggy,
  6. quahog,
  7. quai,
  8. quai d'orsay,
  9. quaich,
  10. quail

Origin of quagmire

First recorded in 1570–80; quag + mire

Related formsquag·mir·y, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for quagmire

British Dictionary definitions for quagmire


/ (ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə, ˈkwɒɡ-) /


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