• WordNet 3.6
    • adj abysmal resembling an abyss in depth; so deep as to be unmeasurable "the abyssal depths of the ocean"
    • adj abysmal very great; limitless "abysmal misery","abysmal stupidity"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Abysmal Pertaining to, or resembling, an abyss; bottomless; unending; profound. "Geology gives one the same abysmal extent of time that astronomy does of space."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • abysmal Pertaining to an abyss; bottomless; profound; fathomless; immeasurable.
    • abysmal Specifically Pertaining to great depths in the ocean: thus, species of plants found only at great depths are called abysmal species, and also abyssal (which see).
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Abysmal bottomless: unending
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. abisme, from Lat. abyssimus, superl. of abyssus, bottomless.


In literature:

Oh, abysmal fool that he had been!
"Parrot & Co." by Harold MacGrath
Our ignorance is so abysmal that our judgments of likeliness and unlikeliness of future events hardly count.
"The Concept of Nature" by Alfred North Whitehead
Oh, it's all so abysmally vile!
"The Fruit of the Tree" by Edith Wharton
Allen Barnes was standing with his head up, his eyes looking out over the abysmal scene below.
"The Sagebrusher" by Emerson Hough
All had seen the same indescribably horrible, abysmally atrocious, things.
"Masters of Space" by Edward Elmer Smith
What seest thou else In the dark backward and abysm of time?
"The Tempest" by William Shakespeare
Night was fast closing over the prairie; I dared not ride farther amid these perilous abysms.
"The War Trail" by Mayne Reid
A horseman dashed to the front; and, poising his horse upon the very edge, looked down into the abysm.
"The White Chief" by Mayne Reid
Beneath were the abysmal depths of the valley masked by the darkness.
"'way Down In Lonesome Cove" by Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)
Their stupidity is positively abysmal.
"The Native Soil" by Alan Edward Nourse
What see'st thou else In the dark backward and abysm of time?
"Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8" by Charles H. Sylvester
This is the abysmal difference between him and the criminal.
"Eugenics and Other Evils" by G. K. Chesterton
Philippina's face betrayed an abysmally mean smile, but she never said a word.
"The Goose Man" by Jacob Wassermann
But there were abysmal differences between the two women, as Clavering well knew.
"Black Oxen" by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
His solemnity was as abysmal as that of a child of peace.
"Young Hilda at the Wars" by Arthur Gleason
There is a great gulf between pancakes and truffles: an eternal, fixed, abysmal canyon.
"Edge of the Jungle" by William Beebe
But it was comparatively high; for Harvey's opinion of Grant Adams and his work was abysmal in its depth.
"In the Heart of a Fool" by William Allen White
Bastide still slept on, that abysmal sleep where total oblivion chains and numbs body and spirit.
"The German Classics, v. 20" by Various
The novelists indeed can show that the beginning of their history is lost in the abysm of time.
"The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare" by J. J. Jusserand
The "abysmal fecundity" was stirred and life clamoured to be created.
"The Kempton-Wace Letters" by Jack London

In poetry:

To live, where darkened suns relume
Their kingdoms in the abysmal haze—
Where nearing Night attends the blaze
Of high Antares red with doom;
"The Testimony of the Suns" by George Sterling
It boils, it breaks, the abysmal mist:
Up, curdling Future! Modes, degrees,
Horns of power, and heads of crest,
Fancy, more than seeing, sees.
"Fancy" by Thomas Aird
From out my world I disappeared;
My walk and talk changed over-night.
I bought black glasses, grew a beard -
Abysmally I dropped from sight;
Old Tax Collector, Mister Smith
Became a memory, a myth.
"The Mystery Of Mister Smith" by Robert W Service
He stands above all worldly schism,
And, gazing over life's abysm,
Beholds within the starry range
Of heaven laws of death and change,
That, through his soul's prophetic prism,
Are turned to rainbows wild and strange.
"The Poet" by Madison Julius Cawein
And we clomb--through a murmur of pinions,
Thin rattle of talons and plumes;
And a sense as of Boreal dominions
Clove down to the abysms and tombs;
And the Night's naked, Ethiope minions
Swarmed on us in legions of glooms.
"Musagetes" by Madison Julius Cawein
Uneven crags and cliffs of various form;
Abysmal depths, and dire profundities;
Chasms so deep and awful that the eye
Of soaring eagle dare not gaze below,
Lest, dizzied, he should lose his aerial poise,
And headlong falling, reach the gulf beneath.
"Grandeur." by Alfred Castner King

In news:

Voter turnout in the United States averages an abysmal 47 percent, ranking it 138th out of 172 nations and dead last among its economic peers in the Group of Eight.
Apple announced Monday that it has replaced two of its executives after the abysmal disappointment with Apple's Maps app on the iPhone 5.
How do you put a state with abysmal overall health and very bad health care on an even more grisly trajectory.
With the exception of the guacamole, the Mexican food used to be abysmal at ROSA MEXICANO .
Not an inconvenient doctrine, as Jon Chait has pointed out, for some one with "unusual" looks and "abysmal personal hygiene.
The coach's steering in a crosswind is abysmal and I feel it is downright dangerous.
After identifying only an abysmal 20 percent of the threats on the conveyor belt myself, I'll ease up on the criticism.
Epstein says there's system-wide move to improve abysmal plate discipline dramatically.
Let me let you in on a little secret, the Ravens offense is absolutely abysmal on the road, I would use a more emphatic word there but I am trying to keep this PG-13.
Each election year sees a staggeringly high number of incumbents reelected, despite the abysmal institutional approval rating.
Should Republicans run against Obama's hyper-liberalism or his abysmal economic stewardship.
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka says his nation Nigeria is "at war" with a radical Islamist sect and shouldn't negotiate with a group that only wants "abysmal appeasement.".
"You shouldn't expect that attorneys across the country would be charged with such abysmal behavior," Golden said.
Auburn's abysmal start continues with 78-72 double-overtime loss to lowly Rhode Island.
An abysmally small percentage of students who graduated from L.A. 15% -- qualified to enter a four-year college.