abyss

noun
\ ə-ˈbis How to pronounce abyss (audio) , a- also ˈa-(ˌ)bis\

Definition of abyss

1a : 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

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Synonyms for abyss

Synonyms

abysm, chasm, deep, gulf, ocean

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Examples of abyss in a Sentence

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 on the Web

Somehow, as Syria’s descent into the abyss continues apace, the scope of the calamity that has already come to pass is difficult to gauge. Brian Stewart, National Review, "For Sama: A Chronicle of the Syrian Tragedy," 10 Aug. 2019 One thing brought the game back from the abyss: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s pursuit of a record 62 home runs, a race that captivated fans in a way that no longer seemed possible. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Baseball Has a Home Run Crisis," 8 July 2019 In other words, a grand company continually needing rescue from the abyss, an ennobling endeavor, a way to communicate across time and space. John Koethe, The New York Review of Books, "Ange Mlinko," 23 May 2019 The controversy, which should never have occurred, should have been over, but the Democrats have managed to cantilever themselves two more steps out on the limb that protrudes over the political abyss. Conrad Black, National Review, "Trump: A Brief History Thereof," 1 Aug. 2019 Yet this was the dominant theoretical view right up to the crisis in money markets in mid-August, 2007, through to the world standing at the edge of the abyss of another global depression when Lehman Brothers collapsed in October 2008. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: ‘Inflation is solved’? Don’t bank on it," 28 July 2019 Mighty condors once circled the abyss of extinction. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How the California condor returned from the brink of extinction," 24 July 2019 Mighty condors once circled the abyss of extinction. Los Angeles Times, "How the California condor returned from the brink of extinction," 24 July 2019 The question is how to interpret the bizarre analogy between a fluid of rubidium atoms in a lab in Israel and the mysterious astrophysical abysses most often created when huge stars exhaust their fuel and collapse inward. Quanta Magazine, "Philosophers Debate New ‘Sonic Black Hole’ Discovery," 30 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of abyss

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for abyss

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

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Dictionary Entries near abyss

Abyla

abysm

abysmal

abyss

abyssal

abyssalbenthic

abyssal hill

Statistics for abyss

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abyss

The first known use of abyss was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for abyss

abyss

noun
\ ə-ˈbis How to pronounce abyss (audio) \

Kids Definition of abyss

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on abyss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abyss

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abyss

Spanish Central: Translation of abyss

Nglish: Translation of abyss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abyss for Arabic Speakers

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