- The definition of a quagmire is soft, wet ground or a complex and difficult situation with no easy solution.
An example of a quagmire is a tense meeting where everyone is angry with each other and there's no clear way to solve the problems.
A quagmire in the Ukraine.
- wet, boggy ground, yielding under the foot
- a difficult or inextricable position: a quagmire of debts
Origin of quagmirequag + mire
- Land with a soft muddy surface.
- A difficult or precarious situation; a predicament.
- A swampy, soggy area of ground.
- That quagmire regularly 'swallows' caught-up hikers' boots
- (figuratively) A perilous, mixed up and troubled situation; a hopeless tangle; a predicament.
- The paperwork got lost in a quagmire of bureaucracy.
- Those election results are a quagmire for any coalition except one of national union
Recorded since 1579, from two virtual synonyms: obsolete quag (“bog, marsh") (a variant of Middle English quabbe (“a marsh, bog"), from Old English *cwabba (“shake, tremble like something soft and flabby"); cognate with Dutch kwab) + mire (from Middle English, from Old Norse mÃ½rr, akin to Old English mÅs (“marsh") and English moss). The sense "difficult situation, inextricable position" is recorded since 1775.