Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 14th, 2015
Episode 287 of 828 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 14, 2015 is: quaggy \KWAG-ee\ adjective 1 : marshy or boggy 2 : flabby or soft Examples: "Today is the opening of 'Expedition Alaska: Dinosaurs,' the latest installation at the museum chronicling the reptilian behemothsand even the little ones, toothat once spanned the state from the frozen North Slope to the quaggy Southeast." Gary Black, Newsminer.com (Fairbanks, Alaska), May 23, 2015 "Life is a never-ending succession of tasks, some with quaggy deadlines, others with strict ones." Hayley Mortimer, Gloucestershire Echo, June 6, 2015 Did you know? Quaggy is related to quag, a word for a marsh or bog, and quagmirewhich can refer to wet, spongy land that gives way underfoot or, figuratively, to a predicament. Etymologists claim no firm footing when it comes to the origin of the syllable the words share in common, though it's been suggested that quag is imitative, echoing the soft, mushy sound that wet ground makes when you walk on it. The words are all roughly the same age, with earliest evidence of quagmire, quag, and quaggy dating to 1566, 1589, and 1596, respectively.