• WordNet 3.6
    • adj dismal causing dejection "a blue day","the dark days of the war","a week of rainy depressing weather","a disconsolate winter landscape","the first dismal dispiriting days of November","a dark gloomy day","grim rainy weather"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Dismal first-year sales of famous products: VW Beetle (U.S.)--sold 330 first year. Liquid Paper--sold 1,200 bottles first year. Cuisinart--sold 200 first year. Remington typewriter--sold 8 first year. Scrabble--sold 532 first year. Coca-Cola--sold 25 bottles first year. (For total of $50; supplies and advertising ran $70.)
    • Dismal Fatal; ill-omened; unlucky. "An ugly fiend more foul than dismal day."
    • Dismal Gloomy to the eye or ear; sorrowful and depressing to the feelings; foreboding; cheerless; dull; dreary; as, a dismal outlook; dismal stories; a dismal place. "Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
      Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frowned."
      "A dismal description of an English November."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • dismal Gloomy; dreary; cheerless; melancholy; doleful; dolorous: originally, as an adjective, in the phrase dismal day or dismal days (see etymology), whence it was extended to any visible physical surroundings, or anything perceived or apprehended, tending to depress or chill the spirits.
    • n dismal See extract and etymology.
    • n dismal Gloom; melancholy; dumps: usually in the plural, in the phrase in the dismals.
    • n dismal plural Mourning-garments.
    • n dismal A name given in the southern Atlantic States, in the region bordering on the sea and sounds, and especially in North Carolina, to a tract of land, swampy in character, often covered by a considerable thickness of half-decayed wood and saturated with water. Some of the so-called dismals are essentially peat-swamps or bogs. They often inclose island-like knobs and hummocks of firm land. The soil and forest-growth of the dismals vary in different regions. The Great Dismal Swamp lies on the border of North Carolina and Virginia. Much of this is a peat-bog, and a very large part is covered by a stunted growth of shrubs and dwarfed trees.
    • n dismal The devil.
    • dismal To feel dismal or melancholy.
    • n dismal plural The blues; the dumps; a state of gloominess or despondency: as, to be in the dismals.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Dismal diz′mal gloomy: dreary: sorrowful: depressing
    • ***


  • Henry Van Dyke
    “Half of the secular unrest and dismal, profane sadness of modern society comes from the vain ideas that every man is bound to be a critic for life.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Formerly a noun; e. g., “I trow it was in the dismalle,.” Chaucer,. Of uncertain origin; but perh. (as suggested by Skeat) from OF. disme, F. dîme, tithe, the phrase dismal day, properly meaning, the day when tithes must be paid. See Dime
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. dismal = L. dies mali, evil, unlucky days. Skeat makes O. Fr. dismal correspond to Low L. decimalis, of a tenth, pertaining to tithes—L. decimus, tenth—decem, ten.


In literature:

And how interminably dismal was the dull muffled crunching of the wheels through the snow!
"Roger Ingleton, Minor" by Talbot Baines Reed
Such was the hurried rush of thoughts through the poor boy's brain during that dismal journey.
"Reginald Cruden" by Talbot Baines Reed
The hour was as dismal as himself.
"Story Hour Readings: Seventh Year" by E.C. Hartwell
We got out at a dismal sort of place called Chillon.
"Parkhurst Boys" by Talbot Baines Reed
Others than Jansoulet saw that death-chamber under even more dismal circumstances.
"The Nabob, Vol. 2 (of 2)" by Alphonse Daudet
After the hymn he sat down, bowing his handsome dark head quietly, and remaining mute in the dismal silence that followed.
"Tess of the Storm Country" by Grace Miller White
The wind was now blowing a fresh gale, and the howling aloft was extremely melancholy and dismal.
"The Frozen Pirate" by W. Clark Russell
Then somebody proposed three groans for Old Briggs, the officer, and the crowd groaned in a most dismal manner.
"Frank Merriwell's Cruise" by Burt L. Standish
Away to the west stretched the Everglades, while to the north and the east lay the dismal cypress swamps.
"Frank Merriwell Down South" by Burt L. Standish
It is likely that the boy, Boz, noticed Dismal Jemmy among the strollers, and possibly may have seen a Jingle himself.
"Pickwickian Studies" by Percy Fitzgerald

In poetry:

'Twas a dismal tale I had to tell
Of wreck and wild distress,
But, even then, I told to none
The captain's wickedness.
"The Old Man's Story" by Mary Botham Howitt
A woman lay in a hovel,
Mean, dismal, gasping for breath;
One friend alone was beside her—
The name of him was—Death.
"The Martyr" by Victor James Daley
Antonio, Antonio,
He uttered a dismal moanio;
Then he ran off and hid
(Or I'm told that he did)
In the Antecatarctical Zonio.
"Antonio" by Laura Elizabeth Richards
Though during Sinai's stormy day,
Thou dread'st the dismal blast,
And fear'st thou art a cast-away,
Thy Husband comes at last.
"The Believer's Jointure : Chapter II." by Ralph Erskine
The second night the taper's light
Burnt dismally and blue,
And every one saw his neighbour's face
Like a dead man's face to view.
"A Ballad, Shewing How An Old Woman Rode Double, And Who Rode Before Her" by Robert Southey
They drank to the Saints and Martyrs
Of the dismal days of yore,
And as soon as the horn was empty
They remembered one Saint more.
"By The Fireside : King Witlaf's Drinking-horn" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In news:

New Orleans Saints' historically dismal defense is a problem of players, not coaches.
After a dismal 2011, homebuilders have seen their fortunes begin to turn around this year as the housing recovery has steadily gained momentum.
After a dismal 2011, homebuilders have seen their fortunes begin to turn around this year as the housing market recovery has steadily gained momentum.
Houston , Hali pile up sacks in dismal Chiefs season.
Mark Hughes became the second Premier League manager to be sacked within the space of the three days after the Welshman paid the price for Queens Park Rangers' dismal start to the 2012-13 English Premier League season.
Dismal Sales Projection for Amedisys.
Seniors deserve one last hurrah in dismal season.
For the most part Q2 results from staffing firms have been pretty dismal.
But it would be a mistake to conclude that he can't win re-election, despite his dismal poll numbers.
Almost anything else is in play in trying to redirect a dismal season.
Michigan's employment-to-population rate paints dismal picture of labor market .
Michigan's employment-to-population rate paints dismal picture of labor market.
Ozzie Guillen fired as manager of last-place Marlins after 1 dismal season with team.
And, when you look back at Hart, he'll be grinning, shrugging off your dismal attempt at intimidation.
Michael Jordan could no longer hide his frustration midway through the Bobcats' dismal season last year.

In science:

Simulated power of the test based on C V Mn is still quite poor, although not as dismal as it is for spiked alternatives.
A powerful test based on tapering for use in functional data analysis
Unix, for example, has the public-domain Oleo, Gnumeric and Dismal spreadsheets amongst others (a list can be found at [Spreadsheet FAQ page]), and MM would be as useful with these as with Excel.
Ensuring Spreadsheet Integrity with Model Master