of or like an ; immeasurably deep or great.
extremely or hopelessly bad or severe:
abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty.
Contemporary Examples

For everybody else, public schools were the only option—and these institutions often had an abysmal record.
Your Local School Doesn’t Have to Suck Michael S. Roth December 16, 2014

Over the last year, nothing he could do had much of an impact on his abysmal approval rating.
French Election: Four Ways Nicolas Sarkozy Got Screwed Christopher Dickey April 21, 2012

Harden paced the team with six, but, as if to compensate for this one bright spot, he shot the ball at an abysmal 20 percent.
Youth Dooms OKC Thunder to Game 3 Loss vs. Miami Heat in NBA Finals Jesse Singal June 17, 2012

For guys, Indiana Jones enjoyed a resurgence, thanks to the abysmal sequel that had just been released.
The Most Popular Halloween Costumes Through the Years: 1985-2013 Kevin Fallon October 30, 2013

The two suffered through an abysmal dinner where they failed to find common ground on how to make Drive.
Ryan Gosling, Existential Action Hero Chris Lee September 15, 2011

Historical Examples

There was a vast silence about him, a silence as deep and unbroken as the abysmal pit in which he seemed to be floating.
The Courage of Marge O’Doone James Oliver Curwood

It seemed the top of earthly fortune to be free, and abysmal misery to have missed it.
The Prisoner Alice Brown

Not so with the man who has dwelt, untutored, for many years, amid these stupendous hills and abysmal gorges.
The Crest of the Continent Ernest Ingersoll

But then it might all be real instead, and that was abysmal horror.
The Eternal Wall Raymond Zinke Gallun

What strange, abysmal vitality informs them is beyond all speculation.
The Mutiny of the Elsinore Jack London

immeasurable; very great: abysmal stupidity
(informal) extremely bad: an abysmal film

1650s, formed in English from abysm + -al (1). Weakened sense of “extremely bad” is first recorded 1904, perhaps from abysmal ignorance (suggestive of its “depth”), an expression attested from 1847. Related: Abysmally.


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    of or like an ; immeasurably deep or great. extremely or hopelessly bad or severe: abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty. Contemporary Examples Almost as bad as the reviews that Moby Dick received, which were abysmally negative. Joyce Carol Oates Salutes Norman Mailer Joyce Carol Oates October 23, 2012 Historical Examples When he got up, he was […]

  • Abyss

    a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity; vast chasm. anything profound, unfathomable, or infinite: the abyss of time. the primal chaos before Creation. the infernal regions; hell. a subterranean ocean. . . Contemporary Examples “Sometimes you have to create the abyss so it can be filled with something,” he said. CNN Chief Dishes on Exit […]

  • Abyssal

    of or like an ; immeasurable; unfathomable. of or relating to the biogeographic zone of the ocean bottom between the bathyal and hadal zones: from depths of approximately 13,000 to 21,000 feet (4000 to 6500 meters). Historical Examples In their morphological characters they gradually approach the pelagic forms upwards and the abyssal downwards. Report on […]

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    noun a large area of extremely flat or gently sloping ocean floor just offshore from a continent, at depths of 13,000-20,000 feet Examples The abyssal plains begin where the continental margins end. Several species of worms, shrimp, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, and fish live in abyssal plains. Usage Note geography

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