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Definition 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
  • She fears another quagmire like Vietnam.
quagmire = 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
  • 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
  • quagmire = a soft wet area that sinks underfoot
  • 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
  • '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
  • 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
  • There are liquid clays, springs, hard rocks, and those soft and deep quagmires which special science calls moutardes.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • JFK will be leaping from one political quagmire and into another.
    Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard  --  Killing Kennedy
  • 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
  • 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
  • Annie's driveway was flooded, and her yard was a quagmire of mud, standing water, and gobbets of melting snow.
    Stephen King  --  Misery
  • "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!
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • 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 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
  • Sometimes we passed by a skein of weeds, shards of a bowl, a quagmire of twigs.
    Amy Tan  --  The Bonesetter's Daughter
  • On the race's eve, a downpour rendered the track at Narragansett a quagmire.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Seabiscuit
  • We seem to be in a quagmire here; it might be helpful.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Identity

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