: abyss
the dark backward and abysm of timeWilliam Shakespeare

Example Sentences

a recurrent dream in which he would fall helplessly into a dark and silent abysm

Word History


borrowed (with later spelling-pronunciation of s) from Anglo-French & Middle French abysme (compare Middle English abyme from Anglo-French abime, abisme), going back to Old French abysme, going back to Vulgar Latin *abismus, alteration of Late Latin abyssus abyss, perhaps via abíss(i)mus, alteration by haplology of abyssíssimus, a superlative derivative from abyssus

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abysm was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near abysm

Cite this Entry

“Abysm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abysm. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on abysm

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