marsh / swamp / bog / fen / mire / quag etc. etc.

lordess

Member
arabic
hi everybody.
I wanted to know whether swamp has nearly or/ exactly the same meaning as march or not?
to my information, swamp means either drawn or walk in a forest while removingthe trees.
 
  • ace02nc

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I believe you're referring to a "marsh". "March" is a different word altogether.

    A swamp typically has a larger expanse of water and trees, whereas a marsh has more low-lying grass and reeds.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It would be swamp or marsh. These two words have distinctive meanings, but I fear that they have earned the same meaning through usage. Probably only a surveyor would note the distinction. A thessaurus will list marshy land masses as morass, wetland, fens,moors,bogs, quagmire, wallows ad infinitum. Where this type of terrain exists, the denizens of the area probably agree on its name such as Everglades, name for a swampland in Florida. In an informal writing you are probably safe by picking anyone of these descriptions. In the Aleutian Islands the description is tundra but inland the best word is permafrost.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    hi everybody.
    I wanted to know whether swamp has nearly or/ exactly the same meaning as march or not?
    to my information, swamp means either drawn or walk in a forest while removingthe trees.
    Hi Lordess, and welcome to the forum.
    I distinguish between a swamp and a marsh. For me a swamp is altogether wetter and muddier and more dangerous. A marsh is wet and may have little lakes in it, but you could think about walking across it, maybe stepping from tussock to tussock. I'd think twice before trying to cross a swamp.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I found marsh defined as an area which is flooded during high tide or the wet season and typically remains waterlogged; and swamp is defined as a bog or marsh.

    I agree with some of the distinctions made by other forum members - I think context is important. The UK has many marshes, but I can't think of any part that I would describe as a swamp - I generally think of swamps as being tropical or sub-tropical.

    To give another example: The semi-nomadic arabs living in the wetlands of southern Iraq are referred to as "Marsh Arabs".
     

    Bluelady

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hello, everybody,

    What is in English the difference between marsh and swamp ? Is it related to the size of this kind of "lake" ?
    Thank you in advance,

    Bluelady

    << Merged with an earlier thread. :) >>
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Difficult; I've never had any clear distinction between them (and we can add 'bog' to the list), but I suppose a marsh is generally rather flat, like the marshes of England, whereas a swamp may contain tall trees with mosses or lianas hanging from them, like the swamps of the eastern USA. I wouldn't call those marshes, though I could call the fens/marshes of England swamps.
     
    Dear friends!!!

    The definitions below have been borrowed by me from the Wordreference dictionary. I think that due to http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1782686 and http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1227096 I have got the difference between "march" and "swamp", but other related words still pose difficulties:

    1. Fen is low-lying wet land with grassy vegetation; usually is a transition zone between land and water; "thousands of acres of marshland"; "the fens of eastern England"

    2.
    Bog is a wet spongy ground of decomposing vegetation; has poorer drainage than a swamp; soil is unfit for cultivation but can be cut and dried and used for fuel3. Mire is a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot

    4. Moor is the open land usually with peaty soil covered with heather and bracken and moss

    5. Quag is a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot

    6. Quagmire is a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    From these definitions I can make the following conclusions:

    1) Quag, quagmire, and mire are the same things. Is really so or there is some subtle difference between them?

    2) What is the difference between "fen" and "bog"? As far as I have understood, "bog" can be used for obtaining fuel after special processing as the definition above says. Also bog contains decomposing and rotten (or decaying) vegetation, whereas "fen" has living grass and plants.

    3) What is "moor" exactly? Is it land containing fuel?

    Thanks
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here are personal comments.

    (1) Quag, quagmire and mire are more often used figuratively than for real. In figurative use, there is no difference between them. I very rarely use any of them.

    (2) A fen is close to sea level, hence the description includes "transition between land and water". A bog is usually at much highter level. A bog contains a great deal of living vegetation.

    (3) A moor is usually high ground with only low-growing vegetation - no trees or shrubs. It does not necessarily contain fuel.

    (Note that the thing that's a bit like a swamp is a marsh, not a march.)
     

    iskndarbey

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Aside from the technical definitions, fen and moor have pleasant, if somewhat barren, connotations, while bog sounds smelly and dirty. Much more mud, standing water and decomposing vegetable matter in the latter.

    As Panjandrum said, quagmire and mire are used figuratively to mean a difficult situation. I've never heard quag.
     

    Gautier51

    Senior Member
    French
    Swamp, bog, marsh, morass, mire : what differences ?

    I guess it is a hard one !

    "Part of the pitch was a swamp, and the players had to do battle on this swamp."
    "Or a panicking cow sinking into a bog."
    "
    The institutional Church of England is a morass of bureaucracy and petty-fogging pen-pushing."
    "In the time since the king-of-the-universe career of her husband, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, crumbled into a mire
    of sex-crimes allegations, Sinclair—who used ..."
    "In order to keep his job, Kipps is sent to sell the Eel Marsh estate, your standard creepy haunted house located on a small island in the middle off a marsh."

    Do only specialists know the differences between those terms ?

    Thank you in advance !
     

    Gautier51

    Senior Member
    French
    Thank's.
    As far as connotations are concerned, is there anything to say ?
    Which ones can be used figuratively ?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    “I am bogged down [cannot move quickly] with work, mired [stuck] in trivia, and swamped [overwhelmed] by a morass [formless mass] of paperwork.”
     

    Gautier51

    Senior Member
    French
    I was only talking about about five of them : "Swamp, bog, marsh, morass, mire".

    And another question : morass is the most figurative and less scientific of all : am I wright ?

    And, last thing, "fen" refers to something with less water, between moor and marsh ?



     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I would be a little surprised to see fen or moor used figuratively :D
    My hazards still have been your solace: and
    Believe't not lightly—though I go alone,
    Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
    Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen
    —Shakespeare, Coriolanus

    As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
    With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
    Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye
    And blister you all o'er!
    —The Tempest

    Or as 'twere perfumed by a fen.
    —The Tempest

    (It could be argued that the word itself is not being used "figuratively" but is merely part of a metaphor.) :)
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    And another question : morass is the most figurative and less least scientific of all : am I wright right? I don't think you can have something that is most figurative or least figurative - it is either figurative or not. If you mean most poorly defined, then, yes, it probably is.

    And, last thing, "fen" refers to something with less water, between moor and marsh? Your best way to understand 'fen' is to do a search on Google Images.

    It refers to a particular type of land/landscape that is perhaps only one metre above sea level - freshwater drains into it but occasionally the sea also washes in. It is characterised by lakes, ponds, marshes but with areas of land that are a little higher and allow trees to grow or even houses to be built.

    Fens have also been subject to much artificial irrigation by use of dykes and pumps so as to reclaim land.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    My hazards still have been your solace: and
    Believe't not lightly—though I go alone,
    Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
    Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen
    —Shakespeare, Coriolanus

    As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
    With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
    Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye
    And blister you all o'er!
    —The Tempest

    Or as 'twere perfumed by a fen.
    —The Tempest

    (It could be argued that the word itself is not being used "figuratively" but is merely part of a metaphor.) :)
    While my surprise is indeed small, I so argue:)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Does moor really belong in the company of all those swampy words? To me a moor may be damp, but it is not full of standing water. You can sleep there without drowning, though you may be visited by spirits or witches.

    A moored ship is quite a different thing to swamped ship or a bogged-down ship.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Does moor really belong in the company of all those swampy words? To me a moor may be damp, but it is not full of standing water. You can sleep there without drowning, though you may be visited by spirits or witches.
    I agree. If the original question had been "Which is the odd one out?" it would have been easy :)
    From the wiki
    an extensive waste covered with patches of heath, and having a poor, light soil, but sometimes marshy, and abounding in peat; aheath
    I think of the first part of that (open, windswept, not fertile, lots of heather, peat etc) but it may or may not have marshy bits or bogs within its boundaries.
     

    lobelia.ophrys

    Senior Member
    French
    Hello everybody,

    I'm wondering if there's a difference between these two words?

    The word I'm looking for is for a bog or a swamp in a forest...


    Thank you in advance!
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hiya - have you used the dictionary in here? One of these words is used to define the other, so you can see the subtle difference and decide what level of wetness you want to have in your forest.

    Swamp tends to be wetter, basically, but most people would not stress over the difference!
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A bog might be smaller too. A swamp or marsh is a large area, perhaps the size of a field or more - the whole area is of that character. But a little place in a forest, which you can just walk around to avoid, I think I would call a bog.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Hi acid...burn,
    I’m no expert on wetland habitats but my understanding of swamps versus bogs is that the difference is mainly in the vegetation (the species of plants and trees) based on differences in water flow, oxygenation, minerals etc. When I hear “bog” I think “peat moss” and “well preserved bog people” ;). A bog is a type of wetland characterized by low oxygen contents, acidic water and cold temperatures.
     

    mr cat

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Just a footnote. Although swamps technically exist in the UK I don't think it is a term used anywhere. We have fens, marshes, bogs etc but no 'swamps' that I know of.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    AE definitions

    Swamp = standing water; has trees

    Marsh = standing water; has no trees

    Bog = wetland with acid soil; typical vegetation is Sphagnum Moss (ends up as peat)
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    We call an area of standing water with trees a swamp in Michigan, which is a long way from tropical. I have 20 acres (8 hectares) of swamp on my property, as well as some marsh nearby.

    Check the Wikipedia entries on the four types of Wetland: Swamp, Marsh, Bog and Fen

    Swamp and Marsh are defined by the type of vegetation (Swamp = woody plants; Marsh = herbaceous plants)

    Bog and Fen are defined by the type of water that feeds them (Bog = acidic, low nutrient; Fen = neutral to alkaline, some minerality). Bogs also accumulate Peat (because of the acidity which slows decay).

    Edit: in the UK, the common term for Swamp is "Wooded Wetland" (which may account for why there seem to be no swamps in the UK).
     
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    vladkornea

    New Member
    English - USA
    Common types of wetlands include swamps, marshes, and mires.

    True swamps are dominated by trees, though transitional shrub swamps also exist. In contrast, marshes and mires are dominated by herbaceous (non-woody) plants such as grasses and reeds.

    Marshes are permeated by slowly flowing water or are regularly flooded, and are particularly common along river deltas and estuaries. In contrast, mires contain primarily standing water, and are known as peatlands because they produce a lot of peat (decaying plant matter).

    Mires are divided into bogs and fens. Bogs form in ground indentations in which rain collects but negligible contact is made with other bodies of water; they're generally found at higher altitudes than marshes. While saltwater marshes exist, bogs are always acidic and poor in nutrients, and thus tend to have more mosses and carnivorous plants. Fens are mires that have more contact with ground water than bogs, and can therefore often be alkaline or rich in nutrients.
     
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    rituparnahoymoy

    Senior Member
    Assamese -India
    We call an area of standing water with trees a swamp in Michigan, which is a long way from tropical. I have 20 acres (8 hectares) of swamp on my property, as well as some marsh nearby.

    Check the Wikipedia entries on the four types of Wetland: Swamp, Marsh, Bog and Fen

    Swamp and Marsh are defined by the type of vegetation (Swamp = woody plants; Marsh = herbaceous plants)

    Bog and Fen are defined by the type of water that feeds them (Bog = acidic, low nutrient; Fen = neutral to alkaline, some minerality). Bogs also accumulate Peat (because of the acidity which slows decay).

    Edit: in the UK, the common term for Swamp is "Wooded Wetland" (which may account for why there seem to be no swamps in the UK).

    I want to know the difference between Marshes and Swamps.

    Swamp : an area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects; a bog or marsh.

    Marsh : an area of low-lying land which is flooded in wet seasons or at high tide, and typically remains waterlogged at all times.

    Photos will help me make a distinction between the two.
     

    rituparnahoymoy

    Senior Member
    Assamese -India
    Honestly, I think there's little difference between the two, except that marshes are generally in cooler countries and swamps in the tropics.
    Thanks a lot. So If I call a particular area which looks like this as shown below as either a swamp or a marsh it should make no difference.



     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Is there a difference in meaning of the word 'moor' in AE and BrE? I always thought that a moor is wet land with vegetation, then I looked the word up and realised that that is what they call 'moor' in America only, in the UK a moor wouldn't be wet, just flat land with some low vegetation.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I've never personally heard moor used in the U.S. It's always in books about England. :)

    I wouldn't call the picture in post #42 a swamp. It's too open.

    This is a swamp in Louisiana.



    And here's one in Germany.



    Swamp - Wikipedia
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    So I've been reading and wrongly imagining people wading through wet land and grass instead of strolling on dry flat ground. Interesting!

    I mean unless a moor can also be wet. Which the dictionary doesn't say.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'd definitely call that wetlands.

    Is there a difference in meaning of the word 'moor' in AE and BrE? I always thought that a moor is wet land with vegetation, then I looked the word up and realised that that is what they call 'moor' in America only, in the UK a moor wouldn't be wet, just flat land with some low vegetation.
    This is what English moors typically look like (this is Exmoor in Devon): they're quite high up, hilly but rarely mountainous, sparse/poor vegetation, boggy patches, sometimes peaty, and empty.

    This is Widdop Moor on the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire ~ pretty similar:
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Yes, that's what I've found too. The dictionary does list though that in AE a moor is the same as a fen, but people here say they don't even use that word in the US.
     
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