quagmire - c.1580, from obsolete quag "bog, marsh" + mire. Quag is a variant of M.E. quabbe "a marsh, bog," from O.E. *cwabba "shake, tremble." Extended sense of "difficult situation" is first recorded 1775.
Iraq ain't the marshiest place in the world, but interesting that there's a little "shock and awe" in the Old English cwabba. At least it got Rumsfeld's goat.Posted by tmonkey at March 29, 2003 12:20 AM