abyss

noun \ ə-ˈbis , a- also ˈa-(ˌ)bis \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of abyss

1 a :an immeasurably deep gulf or great space
  • gazed down into the gaping abyss
  • the ocean's abysses
  • (figurative) a widening abyss between the rich and the poor
b :intellectual or moral depths
  • an abyss of moral depravity
  • an abyss of despair
2 :the bottomless gulf, pit, or chaos of the old cosmogonies

Examples of abyss in a Sentence

  1. looking down at the dark ocean from the ship's rail, the cruise passenger felt as though he was staring into an abyss

Recent Examples of abyss from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of abyss

borrowed from Late Latin abyssus, borrowed from Greek ábyssos "bottomless, unfathomable, (as noun) bottomless gulf," from a- 2a- + byssós "depth of the sea," probably going back to *byth-yos, derivative of bythós "depth, deepest part, bottom," probably of pre-Greek substratal origin


ABYSS Defined for Kids

abyss

noun \ ə-ˈbis \

Definition of abyss for Students

:a gulf so deep or space so great that it cannot be measured


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