abys·​mal | \ ə-ˈbiz-məl How to pronounce abysmal (audio) , a-\

Definition of abysmal

1a : immeasurably low or wretched : extremely poor or bad abysmal ignorance/poverty abysmal living conditions an abysmal performance
b : having immense or fathomless extension downward, backward, or inward an abysmal cliff

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Other Words from abysmal

abysmally \ ə-​ˈbiz-​mə-​lē How to pronounce abysmally (audio) , a-​ \ adverb
abysmally ignorant an abysmally poor performance

Synonyms & Antonyms for abysmal


bottomless, deep, profound


shallow, shoal, skin-deep, superficial, surface

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Examples of abysmal in a Sentence

They were living in abysmal ignorance. a desperate cry echoing from the abysmal reaches of the cave

Recent Examples on the Web

The state’s intervention comes after a report from researchers at Johns Hopkins University found the school system is plagued by widespread dysfunction, poor test scores, and abysmal building conditions. BostonGlobe.com, "Gallo maintains the decision to “pause” the mandatory use of the book will not be a total loss for the district. She said the books have been distributed to all schools, and teachers still have the option to use sections of it in class.," 12 Sep. 2019 Jail improvements: Key improvements have been made to Cuyahoga County jail operations this year to address crowding, security issues and abysmal conditions, but county officials still have a long list of challenges to overcome. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Cleveland city prosecutor blames CMHA police over lack of Frank Q. Jackson charges: The Wake Up for Monday, Sept. 9, 2019," 9 Sep. 2019 The other day in the Pioneer Press, the story just below the story about the abysmal condition of St. Paul’s city streets was the news that the Ramsey County Board is seeking a 10 percent levy increase to fund equity and inclusion initiatives. Joe Soucheray, Twin Cities, "Soucheray: Clarity about Ramsey County levy hike is lacking," 10 Aug. 2019 The full-back hasn't been abysmal by any means; but his ineffective performances have seen him beaten by his man far too often already this season. SI.com, "Bournemouth Premier League Month in Review: August - Best Player, Worst Performance & Overall Rating," 8 Sep. 2019 The reason for the team’s home woes is fairly straightforward: As a group, the starters have been abysmal in Fenway this year. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "Stats of Sox starting pitchers downright homely," 4 Sep. 2019 While the offense is vastly improved under new coordinator Kendal Briles, the defense has been abysmal after allowing an average of 40 points and more than 500 yards during two games. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "FSU, Miami among college football teams coming off disappointing weekends," 8 Sep. 2019 His final two appearances were abysmal and, as Sanchez later revealed, filled with pain. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Aaron Sanchez to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery," 5 Sep. 2019 Despite an strong offense, the defense is inconsistent and sometimes abysmal, the relief pitching palpably erratic and the closer no longer game over. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: No moves isn’t good news for Dodgers fans," 2 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abysmal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abysmal

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for abysmal

abysm + -al entry 1

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Statistics for abysmal

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for abysmal

The first known use of abysmal was circa 1656

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More Definitions for abysmal


abys·​mal | \ ə-ˈbiz-məl How to pronounce abysmal (audio) \

Kids Definition of abysmal

: extremely bad an abysmal report card

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More from Merriam-Webster on abysmal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abysmal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abysmal

Spanish Central: Translation of abysmal

Nglish: Translation of abysmal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abysmal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on abysmal

What made you want to look up abysmal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to be made up of

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