[kwag-mahyuh r, 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.
/ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə; ˈkwɒɡ-/
a soft wet area of land that gives way under the feet; bog
an awkward, complex, or embarrassing situation

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).


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