\ 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


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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 As Baseball sprints toward an abyss of its own making, what’s becoming more and more obvious is there never was a decent chance games would happen in the summer of 2020. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Take your bats and ball and go home MLB. You blew it.," 16 June 2020 Have a nice cry, a good scream, or simply sit and stare into the abyss inside your tin box of despair. Kathryn Kvas, The New Yorker, "How Things Work in a Pandemic," 13 June 2020 That landed Anderson among thousands of Americans staring at the abyss of homelessness as states begin to lift moratoriums on evictions that have been in place since the start of the pandemic three months ago. Michael Braga, USA TODAY, "Evictions expected to spike as states end moratoriums that offered relief during COVID-19," 11 June 2020 On July 31, the economy will likely still be struggling to crawl out of a depression-size abyss,... Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "Don’t Cut Off Unemployment Benefits Now," 8 June 2020 His successor, Nicolás Maduro, left with a steeply unbalanced budget and dropping oil prices, has led the South American country into the abyss. Annette Idler, The Conversation, "Venezuelan migrants face crime, conflict and coronavirus at Colombia’s closed border," 5 June 2020 Still, the central theme -- that the technology to pull back from the abyss on climate already exists -- has a powerful pull, and the film does an admirable job explaining how some of those innovations can be applied in layman's terms. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Dear...' and '2040' look for rays of hope amid dark times," 4 June 2020 That is my borderline; outside, the abyss, where I can be instantly attacked and no longer exist, or might visit disaster upon another. Ai Weiwei, The Atlantic, "When Time Loses All Meaning," 2 June 2020 In international waters, a United Nations body called the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has granted 30 exploration contracts for an area of the underwater abyss three-times the size of California. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Deep-Sea Mining’s Environmental Toll Could Last Decades," 1 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for abyss

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for abyss

Last Updated

20 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abyss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abyss. Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for abyss


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abyss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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