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

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 Portland will take on a Vancouver team Saturday that has conceded an abysmal 42 goals this season, which ranks second-worst in the Western Conference, and has scored just 25 times this year. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "After back-to-back losses, Portland Timbers looking to close out week with win over Vancouver Whitecaps," 9 Aug. 2019 The defense is a big-time problem (and not in a good way) The Raiders were historically bad on defense last year, finishing 30th in defensive DVOA, dead-last in pass rush (an abysmal 13 sacks) and pass-defense efficiency. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Three takeaways from the Raiders’ joint practices with the Rams," 9 Aug. 2019 The prohibition was put in place to protect king salmon, which saw an abysmal return this year. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "As fall nears, fishing focus turns to cohos," 9 Aug. 2019 But one keeps hearing about these abysmal reports about tier 2 or tier 3 colleges in India, where, for instance, aspiring computer engineers can’t even code. Diksha Madhok, Quartz India, "Why billionaire Anand Mahindra spends so much time on Twitter," 30 July 2019 After becoming the club's record signing, Hazard was billed as the man to save Real from their abysmal previous campaign, with Zidane demanding that he be signed at all costs. SI.com, "Eden Hazard Arrived at Real Madrid 7kg Overweight as Florentino Perez Begins Doubting Winger," 29 July 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

17 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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