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She fears another quagmire like Vietnam.
  a difficult, complex situation — especially one from which it is difficult to escape

or more specifically:  a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot
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quagmire quagmires
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  • She fears another quagmire like Vietnam.
  • She doesn’t realize she is stepping into a quagmire.
  • It would’ve been a nice view, with the river and the trees and hills and all, except for the quagmire of horse muck.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Battle of the Labyrinth
  • Finally he chose three which looked particularly good to him—’quagmire,"
    Norton Juster  --  The Phantom Tollbooth

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  • Once I ran into a flat piece of bottom land, and what seemed solid earth by the light of the moon was a marshy quagmire.
    Rudolfo Anaya  --  Bless Me, Ultima
  • The marshes were bewildering and treacherous, and there was no permanent trail even for Rangers to find through their shifting quagmires.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Fellowship of the Ring
  • From the end of it a small wand planted here and there showed where the path zigzagged from tuft to tuft of rushes among those green-scummed pits and foul quagmires which barred the way to the stranger.
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • I’d like to know how you ended up in this quagmire.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Ron did very well until he reached the hinkypunk, which successfully confused him into sinking waist-high into the quagmire.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • I tried to cast her future, but it’s a hopeless quagmire-lovely word,quagmire —because her life interacts with so many others.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest

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  • Annie’s driveway was flooded, and her yard was a quagmire of mud, standing water, and gobbets of melting snow.
    Stephen King  --  Misery
  • By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • "But, Ashley," she began, floundering in a quagmire of bewilderment, "if you’re afraid we’ll starve, why—why— Oh, Ashley, we’ll manage somehow! I know we will!"
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • The heavy lumpish phrase sank slowly out of hearing like a stone through a quagmire.
    James Joyce  --  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • It’s no longer a flawless cut-paper profile, her face is sinking in upon itself, and I think of those towns built on underground rivers, where houses and whole streets disappear overnight, into sudden quagmires, or coal towns collapsing into the mines beneath them.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The deer, looking soaked, leave quagmires where they pass.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • Or it resembled a greedy, avid, delicious quagmire which would swallow up the lost, benighted traveler with a last tired, liquid, contented sigh.
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • If a person who has blindly walked into a quagmire cries for help, I am inclined to give it, if possible.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • There are liquid clays, springs, hard rocks, and those soft and deep quagmires which special science calls moutardes.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • And there must be a plentiful lack of oxygen in very many houses in this town, I should think, judging from the fact that the whole compact majority can be unconscientious enough to wish to build the town’s prosperity on a quagmire of falsehood and deceit.
    Henrik Ibsen  --  An Enemy of the People
  • Sometimes we passed by a skein of weeds, shards of a bowl, a quagmire of twigs.
    Amy Tan  --  The Bonesetter’s Daughter
  • Tess, meanwhile, as the one who had dragged her parents into this quagmire, was silently wondering what she could do to help them out of it; and then her mother broached her scheme.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Tess of the d’Urbervilles
  • On the race’s eve, a downpour rendered the track at Narragansett a quagmire.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Seabiscuit
  • But that pestilence so frequently idealized by nostalgia became an unbearable reality when the carriage began to lurch through the quagmire of the streets where buzzards fought over the slaughterhouse offal as it was swept along by the receding tide.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o’er bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor.
    William Shakespeare  --  King Lear
  • We seem to be in a quagmire here; it might be helpful.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Identity
  • At least once during every novel she’d fling herself into the kitchen, near tears, hysterical that she’d lost any talent she ever possessed, the book was a quagmire, a disaster, the end of her career, and Chris and I would just sit there, silent, until she wailed out again.
    Sarah Dessen  --  This Lullaby
  • Peach was picking her way across the main street of Fort Smith, which was less of a quagmire than usual, since it had been dry lately.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • On both sides lay an extensive quagmire, which could not have been more disagreeable either to sight or smell, had all the kennels of the earth emptied their pollution there.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The Celestial Railroad
  • He stopped the roan (it was April then, and the road was still a quagmire) and sat there in his splashed tarpaulin and looked from one face to the next; your grandfather said that his eyes looked like pieces of a broken plate and that his beard was strong as a curry-comb.
    William Faulkner  --  Absalom, Absalom!
  • It was full of pits and quagmires, partly covered with weeds and mosses, where the green surface often betrayed the traveller into a gulf of black, smothering mud; there were also dark and stagnant pools, the abodes of the tadpole, the bull-frog, and the water-snake, where the trunks of pines and hemlocks lay half-drowned, half-rotting, looking like alligators sleeping in the mire.
    Washington Irving  --  The Devil and Tom Walker
  • JFK will be leaping from one political quagmire and into another.
    Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard  --  Killing Kennedy
  • It was a heavy rain, turning roads to mud and fields to quagmires, swelling the rivers and stripping the trees of their leaves.
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Storm of Swords
  • Lastly, a large percentage of buffalo were chased by hunters into the quagmires and quicksands along the numerous streams, there to perish.
    Zane Grey  --  The Thundering Herd
  • ’Well,’ says I, ’you talk o’ Bony’s cliverness; would it be any use my being a first-rate gardener if I’d got nought but a quagmire to work on?’
    George Eliot  --  Adam Bede
  • Before we cast away the solid assurances of national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that our temple is built, not upon shifting sands or quagmires, but upon the rock.
    Winston Churchill  --  Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech
  • Before we cast away the solid assurances of national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that our temple is built, not upon shifting sands or quagmires, but upon the rock.
    Winston Churchill  --  Churchill’s Sinews of Peace Speech
  • And there is a road covered with muck and splintered branches, much like the wood itself; branching off from the road, a country lane, a rutted quagmire, winds up the hill; tree trunks jut into the cold rain, naked and stripped of branches.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • Riding-saddles and bridles, pack-saddles and strings of bells, mules and men, lanterns, torches, sacks, provender, barrels, cheeses, kegs of honey and butter, straw bundles and packages of many shapes, were crowded confusedly together in this thawed quagmire and about the steps.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • I tried to cast her future, but it’s a hopeless quagmire-lovely word,quagmire —because her life interacts with so many others.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • The track was a quagmire.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Seabiscuit
  • Jean Valjean mounted this inclined plane and reached the other side of the quagmire.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Besides, how was he to again traverse that quagmire whence he had only extricated himself as by a miracle?
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • And after the quagmire, was there not the police patrol, which assuredly could not be twice avoided?
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Just imagine, there was a terrible quagmire enough to drown one a hundred times over, to drown one in mire.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • It was only when I observed that this Lois was mixed up with the other Lois, with certain human traits, that I began to feel that all the works of man might be swallowed up in the quagmire.
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • D’Escoubleau, surprised one night at his cousin’s, the Duchess de Sourdis’, was drowned in a quagmire of the Beautreillis sewer, in which he had taken refuge in order to escape from the Duke.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Yes, in that greedy, delicious quagmire, the solemn temples, the gorgeous palaces, towers, battlements, libraries, museums, huts, hospitals, houses, cities, and all the works of man might be swallowed up, with that last luxurious sigh.
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • Some asserted that she lost her way among the tangled mazes of the swamp, and sank into some pit or slough; others, more uncharitable, hinted that she had eloped with the household booty, and made off to some other province; while others surmised that the tempter had decoyed her into a dismal quagmire, on the top of which her hat was found lying.
    Washington Irving  --  The Devil and Tom Walker
  • This sort of quagmire was common at that period in the subsoil of the Champs-Elysees, difficult to handle in the hydraulic works and a bad preservative of the subterranean constructions, on account of its excessive fluidity.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
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Associated words [difficulty]:   quagmire [7]
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