\ 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 The unrelenting chaos of this Covid week ensured that the vice presidential hopefuls never left the edge of Donald Trump's abyss. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, "Kamala Harris and Mike Pence Tried to Have a Normal Debate. It Didn’t Quite Work.," 7 Oct. 2020 Passing 200,000 deaths, more than 2,000 of them in Minnesota, is an occasion to contemplate the abyss. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "A grim milestone for COVID-19: 200,000," 21 Sep. 2020 Another array of sensors measured slight variations in gravity around the abyss. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "World’s Deepest Freshwater Cave is Twice as Deep as Previously Thought," 3 Sep. 2020 The abyss sits in karst, a Swiss-cheese–like terrain formed when soluble rock such as limestone is slowly dissolved by water. Charlotte Hartley, Science | AAAS, "The world’s deepest freshwater cave just got a whole lot deeper," 31 Aug. 2020 Facebook, a company whose platform is a limitless abyss of antidemocratic disinformation, is asking its users to do their duty to democracy before fully addressing the ways in which the company’s products have eroded it, both in America and abroad. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Even Fast-Casual Restaurants Are Telling Me to Vote," 29 Sep. 2020 An au pair plunges into an abyss of chilling secrets in this gothic romance from the creator of The Haunting of Hill House. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Sinister trailer for Haunting of Bly Manor looks like a classic ghost story," 23 Sep. 2020 In reality, Lambeau was empty and Miller and Brown shouted into the cavernous abyss of an empty Ford Field. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Lions radio team didn't attend game in Green Bay due to COVID-19. Here's how they called it," 21 Sep. 2020 The Toronto Raptors were a half-second away from falling into the abyss that no NBA team has ever escaped. Tim Reynolds, orlandosentinel.com, "OG for 3: Anunoby beats buzzer to lift Raptors over Celtics," 4 Sep. 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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abyss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abyss. Accessed 25 Oct. 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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