Word of the Week (WOW) – Quagmire


Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practise with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter Q this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a good word beginning with  next week.

*Note to exiledprospero, who kindly suggested a good word for me to do when I reached Q:

I was going to do Qixotic this week, Prospero, as you kindly suggested, but I discovered that Heena, who runs this challenge, had beaten me to it.  So, if you’d like to see what Heena has to say about that excellent word, follow the link in her name above.

So, here is my WOW for this week:

quagmireWord: Quagmire

Pronunciation:  [kwag-mahyuh r, kwog-]  (ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə; ˈkwɒɡ-)

Audio link to British and U.S. pronunciation here

Part of Speech:  Noun

Adjective:  Quagmiry (quag·mir·y)


1. A soft wet area of land that gives way underfoot.

Quagmire: The Snicks near Shouldham, Norfolk, England. geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Keith Evans. Wikimedia Commons,
Quagmire: The Snicks near Shouldham, Norfolk, England. geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Keith Evans. Wikimedia Commons,

2. A difficult  or precarious situation; a predicament.


3. Anything soft or flabby.


predicament, difficulty, quandary, pass, dilemma, pinch, plight, muddle, impasse, entanglement, imbroglio. Informal usage: fix, jam, scrape, pickle, rabbit-hole, rattrap. sticky wicket.

Word Origin and History (Dictionary.com)

1570s, “bog, marsh,” from obsolete quaq “bog, marsh” + mire. Early spellings include quamyre (1550s), quabmire (1590s), quadmire (1600). The extended sense of “difficult situation, inescapable bad position” is recorded by 1766, but this seems to have been not in common use in much before the 19th century.

Use in a Sentence:

1. Martin had no problems on his bike ride until he reached the track through the woods where the slush and rain had turned it into a quagmire.

Quagmire in Stapleford Woods. Wikimedia Commons. Geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Richard Croft

2. Continuous rain for days on end had turned the former battlefield into a quagmire.

The British Army on the Western Front 1914-18. Muddy tracks through the former battlefield. Commons. Photographer: David McLellan, Second Lieutenant
The British Army on the Western Front 1914-18. Muddy tracks through the former battlefield. Commons. Photographer: David McLellan, Second Lieutenant

3. The dilemma sucked Angela deeper and deeper into a quagmire of indecision.

shutterstock_2156487254. The family was enguilfed in a legal quagmire and was concerned that they may not be able to afford lawyer’s hefty fees.


If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

23 thoughts on “Word of the Week (WOW) – Quagmire

  1. Oh, Millie, that is a shame.

    Can you use proper names? There is a genus in the Combretaceae family called Quisqualis.

    If in a taxonomic mood, you can use it next time you cycle through the alphabet. Heena won’t know it (unless she is a magician too).

    1. Thank you, Prospero, but I do have 26 weeks to wait. Quisqualis is a very pretty plant (I’ve just looked it up). I don’t think plant names would be particularly useful in writing, though, unless one was compiling a taxonomic work.

      1. Quisqualis indica, I presume. All species in the Quisqualis genus may not be as quizzical or attractive.

        “By the white gazebo, near the rambling Quisqualis under which lay a panting dog, I saw a look in your eyes which terrified me.”

        There, Quisqualis used in an imaginary work of fiction!

      2. What can I say to that, Prospero? Beautifully creative… I have made a note of your lovely word/name and will remember it next time I reach Q. (And I won’t mention it to Heena!) 🙂

  2. This WOW challenge is somewhat producing a quagmire of thoughts about how this operates…..I thought I was following Heena’s lead but you choose a different Q word?……..have I not read all the instructions MIllie?
    I did like what you did with quagmire though, very clear definitions.

    1. Hi, Michael. I don’t suppose Heena would mind how you choose to do the challenge – she would just be pleased that you’re doing it. 🙂 But, yes, the idea is to come up with a word of your own and follow the steps, as I have done, to explain about its origins and usage. I particularly like doing this because it’s different to the writing challenges we all do. I love finding out about words and finding pictures to illustrate them. I decided when I started to go through the alphabet, but you don’t have to. I’m not sure whether Heena is or not, because her word before quixotic began with L. I also put an audio link in now because some people to whom English is a second language find difficulty in pronouncing the words. It’s really up to individuals how they do things, though. Louise, my daughter, sets hers out in a similar way to mine and we started going through the alphabet together. We’ll be uo to R next week. 🙂 I’ve prpbably totally confused you now, so I’ll leave it at that. It would be lovely if you would continue the challenge, however you decide to do it. I usually wait until Heena posts her word before doing mine, then I can link to her post. She generally posts around the weekend. Hope you’re still awake now. 🙂

      1. Thanks Millie I now see what is required. I do like what you and Louise are doing. I might have to rethink what I can do……I do like the idea of using a word I would not normally use, as I know there are thousands to choose from…lol…thanks for the heads up on WOW.

      2. You’re welcome, Michael, and I’ll definitely look forward to reading your future posts – however you decide to do them.

  3. This is a difficult word. Maybe one day when I am more familiar with the well known words I’ll start using words like this to make the writing more interesting.

    1. I imagine that’s very true … at times when they aren’t idling about in bed or playing in the snow! Thank you for that brilliant sentence, Jack. I wish I’d though of it! 🙂

  4. I never knew they have a word for such a thing! Thanks a lot Millie for choosing this word… 🙂
    I had no clue you wanted to do quixotic. But honestly, I’m not surprised, it’s a really beautiful word!
    Thanks for doing WOW 😀

  5. I also love this one. You know, when I first saw that word, somewhere, a long time ago, I thought it meant a furry animal for some reason. (Don’t laugh). Some English words do not mean what they look like – if you know what I mean. 🙂

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