abys·mal | \ə-ˈbiz-məl, 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 \-mə-lē \ 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

After Hassan Whiteside's abysmal postseason, nobody is actively pursuing him and his contract. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Should Heat offseason goal be to thin the rotation?," 29 June 2018 Milwaukee Bucks, Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech, 6-5, 19 Guards Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon had abysmal postseasons. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "NBA Mock Draft 5.0: Mavs get two picks in the top 5? Let us explain," 20 June 2018 Both are trusted to take penalties and free kicks for their clubs and countries, but Messi's penalty conversion rate is poor and Ronaldo's free kick record is abysmal. SI.com, "Messi vs Ronaldo: The Myth of the One-Man Team & the Overwhelming Importance of Trust," 2 July 2018 Pitt's offense may be better than last year, but its pass defense is abysmal. Brandon Wimbush (or maybe Ian Book) will be licking his chops. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "Ranking Indiana's top 50 college football games in 2018," 11 July 2018 Industry sources tell me the numbers are abysmal for the 2-to-11 age group. Michael O’rielly, WSJ, "A Smarter Approach to Saturday Morning Cartoons," 20 June 2018 The Times’ coverage of local theater continues to be abysmal. latimes.com, "Calendar Letters: Samantha Bee, Roseanne Barr and competing views of hypocrisy," 9 June 2018 As well as being poor against Napoli, Juve were abysmal for much of the second half of the Inter game, needing two late goals to overturn a 2-1 deficit. SI.com, "Roma vs Juventus Preview: Recent Form, Team News, Classic Encounter & More," 12 May 2018 But two bigger issues are the offense and the defense, both abysmal in 2017. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football's last-placed teams headed for better things in 2018 season," 3 Apr. 2018

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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Time Traveler for abysmal

The first known use of abysmal was circa 1656

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abys·mal | \ə-ˈbiz-məl \

Kids Definition of abysmal

: extremely bad an abysmal report card

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Comments on abysmal

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a state of commotion or excitement

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