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

Other Words from abysmal

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for abysmal



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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 injuries have continued to mount, and their secondary is abysmal. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 30 Dec. 2021 But the weather is abysmal, so hatred of gloom is not an option. Hannah Aizenman, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2021 Following the discovery of Anthony Sowell’s horrors in 2009, our reporters aimed at the city’s abysmal record at investigating rapes. cleveland, 12 Dec. 2021 So the program ended the season, despite the abysmal record, with a better vibe. Dom Amore, courant.com, 28 Nov. 2021 The gender strategy won’t deflect the public’s attention from the Biden administration’s abysmal record on all of the above. The Editors, National Review, 26 Oct. 2021 The Nobel Prize’s abysmal record on diversity is a second guide star for speculators. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 5 Oct. 2021 Philadelphia had an abysmal 4-11 record last year, the NFC East's worst record. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 7 Sep. 2021 Vietnam, for example, is still a one-party dictatorship with an abysmal human rights record, facts which have been no obstacle to the warming of relations. Noah Millman, The Week, 17 Aug. 2021

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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The first known use of abysmal was circa 1656

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abysmal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abysmal. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on abysmal

Nglish: Translation of abysmal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abysmal for Arabic Speakers


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