• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Serbonian Relating to the lake of Serbonis in Egypt, which by reason of the sand blowing into it had a deceptive appearance of being solid land, but was a bog. "A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog . . . Where armies whole have sunk."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • serbonian Noting a large bog or lake in Egypt, lying between the Delta and the Isthmus of Suez. It was surrounded by hills of loose sand, which, being blown into it, afforded a treacherous footing, whole armies attempting to cross it having been swallowed up. Hence the phrase Serbonian bog has passed into a proverb, signifying a difficult or complicated situation from which it is almost impossible to extricate one's self; a distracting condition of affairs.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Serbonian ser-bō′ni-an relating to a dangerous bog in Egypt, hence to any difficult situation.
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In literature:

He went past the Isthmus, and Mount Casius, and the vast Serbonian bog, and up the shore of Palestine, where the dark-faced AEthiops dwelt.
"The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children" by Charles Kingsley
Human talent, diligence, endeavor, is it but as lightning smiting the Serbonian Bog?
"History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XX. (of XXI.) Frederick The Great--Friedrich is not to be Overwhelmed: The Seven-Years War Gradually Ends--25th April, 1760-15th February, 1763." by Thomas Carlyle
After that, from the Serbonian lake, in which the story goes that Typhon is concealed, from this point onwards the land is Egypt.
"The History Of Herodotus" by Herodotus
He finds his age or country stuck in some Serbonian bog of iniquity.
"William Lloyd Garrison" by Archibald H. Grimke
The census report of 1860, as compared with that of 1870, is as the Serbonian bog to a well-appointed lawn.
"Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 22. July, 1878." by Various
It was probably the Typhonian temple of Zeus upon mount Casius, near the famed Serbonian lake.
"A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume II. (of VI.)" by Jacob Bryant
This fell disease began between the Serbonian bog and the eastern channel of the Nile.
"Outlines of Greek and Roman Medicine" by James Sands Elliott
The strip between the city of Jenysus and the Serbonian Lake, a journey of three days, is wholly without water.
"The History of Antiquity" by Max Duncker
SERBONIAN BOG, Isaiah I., 361.
"Expositor's Bible: Index" by S. G. Ayres