Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[uh-biz-muh l] /əˈbɪz məl/
of or like an abyss; immeasurably deep or great.
extremely or hopelessly bad or severe:
abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty.
Origin of abysmal
First recorded in 1650-60; abysm + -al1
Related forms
abysmally, adverb
ultra-abysmal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for abysmally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he got up, he was physically normal again, but abysmally ashamed.

    Sand Doom William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • They knew how abysmally hopeless was their chance of accomplishing anything.

    Lords of the Stratosphere Arthur J. Burks
  • For a secretary she is too abysmally ignorant, too grotesquely incapable.

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne William J. Locke
  • And all change, to the home-staying heart, can be so abysmally upsetting!

    The Prairie Child Arthur Stringer
  • The humor of the bassoon is an unconscious humor, and results from the use made of its abysmally solemn voice.

    How to Listen to Music, 7th ed. Henry Edward Krehbiel
  • Before them was Life, but Life so hideously and abysmally alien that their brains reeled in horror.

  • If he hadn't been abysmally lazy, he might have been very good at it.

    Lion Loose James H. Schmitz
  • The social gap between this afterguard and Rose and her colleagues in the chorus, was not so very wide, but it was abysmally deep.

    The Real Adventure Henry Kitchell Webster
  • The great tragedy of her life, however, the thing that had brought her to her present pass, was her abysmally foul horoscope.

    Conquest Over Time Michael Shaara
British Dictionary definitions for abysmally


immeasurable; very great: abysmal stupidity
(informal) extremely bad: an abysmal film
Derived Forms
abysmally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for abysmally



1650s, formed in English from abysm + -al (1). Weakened sense of "extremely bad" is first recorded 1904, perhaps from abysmal ignorance (suggestive of its "depth"), an expression attested from 1847. Related: Abysmally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for abysmal

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for abysmally

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for abysmally