in Wacky Word Wednesday

Quagmire – Wacky Word Wednesday

Today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world, presents a word with multiple interconnected wacky meanings.

From, the definition of today’s wacky word:

quo top




a difficult or awkward situation; a soft marshy area of land that yields under the feet; bog

quo botQuagmire

Quagmire was first used in the 1570s. Quag is said to have come from cwabba, an Old English term defined as to shake or tremble; mire still holds its historical meaning of bog or swamp. It wasn’t until 1775 that quagmire began to take on the definition of “a difficult or awkward situation”. This more current meaning is derived from the literal difficulty one would feel when sinking into a swampy pit and trying to get out…which makes sense; it is indeed quite the predicament, made all the more awkward depending on the company around you.

While doing research, we also come across Quagmire Golf, a cool and funky golf apparel company. The team behind the designs have come out with some pretty creative products, including a ColorFusion line that changes the colors of a shirt as things heat up (literally—the technology behind the design requires a temperature of 20 degree C/68 degrees F or higher to begin changing colors). This type of cloth is available in designs, patters, or solid colors. Quagmire Golf also made sure to put the disclaimer out there that the heat-dependent technology spreads throughout the entire shirt, and will not just highlight, for example, hot and sweaty armpits. A good thing to note.

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Some examples of quagmire used in a sentence:

  • “My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire.” (James Joyce)
  • “While the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he was awarded in 1957, should have signaled the pinnacle of Camus’s career, it came at a time when he was struggling in the deepening quagmire of the Algerian war.” (Isabelle de Courtivron on Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus)
  • “Your home is regarded as a model home, your life as a model life. But all this splendor, and you along with it … it’s just as though it were built upon a shifting quagmire. A moment may come, a word can be spoken, and both you and all this splendor will collapse.” (Henrik Isben)

So in following James Joyce’s lead, we hope this blog post will sink in you as one would sink into a quagmire! If you have any quagmire stories, feel free to share in the comments section below!

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  1. What an interesting word to write about! I feel that this concept particularly lends itself to idioms – not that I can think of any now, of course.

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