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[uh-bis-uh l] /əˈbɪs əl/
of or like an abyss; immeasurable; unfathomable.
of or relating to the biogeographic zone of the ocean bottom between the bathyal and hadal zones: from depths of approximately 13,000 to 21,000 feet (4000 to 6500 meters).
Origin of abyssal
From the Medieval Latin word abyssālis, dating back to 1685-95. See abyss, -al1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for abyssal


of or belonging to the ocean depths, esp below 2000 metres (6500 feet): abyssal zone
(geology) another word for plutonic
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
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Word Origin and History for abyssal

1690s, used especially of the zone of ocean water below 300 fathoms, from abyss + -al (1). Though the 19th century, abysmal was more common in oceanography.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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abyssal in Science
  1. Relating to the greatest depths of the oceans and to the organisms that live there. The abyssal zone encompasses all depths below 4,000 m (13,120 ft).

  2. Relating to the region of the ocean bottom between the bathyal and hadal zones, from depths of approximately 2,000 to 6,000 m (6,560 to 19,680 ft). The abyssal zone includes nearly two-thirds of the Earth's surface.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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