Definition of quagmire in English:



  • 1A soft boggy area of land that gives way underfoot.

    ‘torrential rain turned the building site into a quagmire’
    • ‘That helped explain why the river was so murky and why all the crossings were feculent quagmires of cow dung and mud, stirred up by scores of hooves and further churned by ATVs, whose tracks laced the riverbanks for miles above and below me.’
    • ‘Community leaders say the playground is a muddy, smelly quagmire even in the height of summer.’
    • ‘Heavy rain turned the car parks into quagmires to such an extent that cars were banned for Saturday's official qualifying day.’
    • ‘The ground was easy to dig - not so wet as to be a quagmire, but soft enough that the only problems were the odd stone, piece of wire and a couple of boulders.’
    • ‘Unpaved roads, the great majority, could become quagmires with the passage of the first few vehicles.’
    • ‘There are few roads, and some of these are impassable quagmires in the rainy season.’
    • ‘The next year they were hot favourites in the grand final against Warragul Industrials before losing in a quagmire at Drouin.’
    • ‘She pulled it off in the quagmire at Loch Lomond, but it will certainly be a tougher proposition under the hostile glare of Minneapolis.’
    • ‘This leaves a balance of 47 outstanding problems, ranging from near impassable quagmires of mud and bovine excrement to dangerously collapsed or broken stiles, many illegally obstructed by barbed wire.’
    • ‘The main landscape feature is endless peatbog, surrounded by marsh, leading into morasses, sloughs and quagmires.’
    • ‘As the fixed member of the water triplicity, Scorpio also relates to locations where water collects and stagnates: muddy or swampy grounds, bogs, marshes, sedimentary deposits and quagmires.’
    • ‘In the 19th century, the area was a quagmire with a creek running through it.’
    • ‘When we got there it was raining very hard and the patio area was a quagmire.’
    • ‘Straw, sand and pine needles have been dumped onto spectator walking areas, creating a smelly quagmire.’
    • ‘Joel, who isn't racing, is wise enough to stay out of the quagmire and cruise the scene at the top of the mountain.’
    • ‘The recent snow and rain turned some of the peat hags into quagmires and a stiff westerly wind made the going tough.’
    • ‘Saturday's final was a battle of two very game teams on an absolute quagmire of a pitch.’
    • ‘The day's two earlier races had made these boggy Flanders fields even more of a quagmire by the time of the main event.’
    • ‘The soil raised the planting beds, lifting plant roots out of the quagmire and allowing excess water to drain away.’
    • ‘Broad expanses of open sand undulate, sweeping up into steep mountains or falling off into lakes, ponds, and shallow quagmires of quicksand.’
    swamp, morass, bog, peat bog, marsh, mire, quag, marshland, fen, slough, quicksand
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    1. 1.1An awkward, complex, or hazardous situation.
      ‘a legal quagmire’
      • ‘Welling provides an overview of the key debates in the contemporary field but becomes mired in a definitional quagmire.’
      • ‘So individuals who can translate complex terms and navigate the quagmire are in great demand.’
      • ‘He's getting caught up in his own controversy, situating himself in an ethical quagmire he might not be able to escape from.’
      • ‘This is expected to become a legal quagmire, with landholders' interests already warning of test cases over compulsory purchases.’
      • ‘It is bogged down in a quagmire, and its credibility has been undermined internationally.’
      • ‘So the moral argument disappears into a colonial quagmire.’
      • ‘The problem is that code developed under different licences all gets mixed together in implementations, producing a legal quagmire.’
      • ‘Looking to the future, the legal quagmire of the Internet presents new issues and challenges to both free speech and morality.’
      • ‘Breen sticks closely to the politics, avoiding getting bogged down in the quagmire of personal detail.’
      • ‘When all this takes place in a quagmire it becomes more depressing and difficult for all concerned.’
      • ‘As the economy recovers, organisations will want to be fleet of foot and may find themselves entrenched in a quagmire of contact clauses and restrictions.’
      • ‘This would be particularly severe for low income economies that are striving to pullout of their current economic quagmires.’
      • ‘This political quagmire does relate closely to the economic situation.’
      • ‘The natural extension of his work on the genetics of pigmentation led him into a study of piebald mice, this turned out to be a quagmire.’
      • ‘That campaign didn't exactly become the quagmire critics predicted.’
      • ‘Without a clear approach, companies could see themselves involved in a bureaucratic quagmire.’
      • ‘Officials in Indonesia have warned that if the legal quagmire is not sorted out before Tristan reaches the age of five, he cannot be adopted.’
      • ‘Even so, this is a legal quagmire with the possibility of litigation or fines flying in all directions.’
      • ‘One facet of this tragedy is the absence of visionary leadership capable of leading humanity out of its quagmire.’
      • ‘Even so, some fear that the situation might degenerate into a quagmire in which the rebels resort to protracted guerrilla warfare.’
      muddle, mix-up, mess, predicament, awkward situation, difficult situation, unfortunate situation, mare's nest, quandary, entanglement, tangle, jumble, imbroglio
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Late 16th century: from quag + mire.