abys·​mal ə-ˈbiz-məl How to pronounce abysmal (audio)
: immeasurably low or wretched : extremely poor or bad
abysmal ignorance/poverty
abysmal living conditions
an abysmal performance
: having immense or fathomless extension downward, backward, or inward
an abysmal cliff
abysmally adverb
abysmally ignorant
an abysmally poor performance

Example Sentences

They were living in abysmal ignorance. a desperate cry echoing from the abysmal reaches of the cave
Recent Examples on the Web Curry and Thompson struggled on Friday, combining to shoot an abysmal 14 for 47 from the field. Sopan Deb, New York Times, 13 May 2023 Clippers 36, Suns 34 (6:54 left in second quarter) Suns having abysmal shooting game vs. Clippers The Suns just can't get much going on offense against the Clippers. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2023 While the city’s overall history of building has been checkered, its record on preservation has been nothing short of abysmal. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 12 Apr. 2023 Unfortunately, the utterly abysmal track record of the Netflix show would suggest that this particular method of dating doesn’t really work. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 6 Apr. 2023 Falling prices are great for consumers who weary of inflation’s effects on most other products, but abysmal for Oregon retailers and growers. Mike Rogoway | Mrogoway@oregonian.com, oregonlive, 12 Mar. 2023 Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence got off to an abysmal start, throwing four interceptions in the first half and allowing the Chargers to dominate the field. Justin Klawans, The Week, 15 Jan. 2023 That includes waning immunity and the abysmal uptake of the bivalent booster, particularly among older adults, who are most vulnerable to severe disease. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 3 Jan. 2023 The Ravens are 1-3 in the playoffs with him as the starter, his QB rating an abysmal 68.3. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abysmal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


abysm + -al entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of abysmal was circa 1656

Dictionary Entries Near abysmal

Cite this Entry

“Abysmal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abysmal. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


abys·​mal ə-ˈbiz-məl How to pronounce abysmal (audio)
: resembling an abyss in huge extent
abysmal ignorance
abysmally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on abysmal

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