adjective \ˈdiz-məl\

: showing or causing unhappiness or sad feelings : not warm, cheerful, etc.

: very bad or poor

Full Definition of DISMAL

obsolete :  disastrous, dreadful
:  showing or causing gloom or depression
:  lacking merit :  particularly bad <a dismal performance>
dis·mal·ly \-mə-lē\ adverb
dis·mal·ness noun

Examples of DISMAL

  1. The show was a dismal failure.
  2. The team's record is dismal.

Origin of DISMAL

Middle English, from dismal, noun, days marked as unlucky in medieval calendars, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin dies mali, literally, evil days
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of DISMAL

dismal, dreary, bleak, gloomy, cheerless, desolate mean devoid of cheer or comfort. dismal indicates extreme and utterly depressing gloominess <dismal weather>. dreary, often interchangeable with dismal, emphasizes discouragement resulting from sustained dullness or futility <a dreary job>. bleak suggests chill, dull, and barren characteristics that utterly dishearten <the bleak years of the depression>. gloomy often suggests lack of hope or promise <gloomy war news>. cheerless stresses absence of anything cheering <a drab and cheerless office>. desolate adds an element of utter remoteness or lack of human contact to any already disheartening aspect <a desolate outpost>.


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