- causing gloom or dejection; gloomy; dreary; cheerless; melancholy: dismal weather.
- characterized by ineptness or lack of skill, competence, effectiveness, imagination, or interest; pitiful: Our team played a dismal game.
- disastrous; calamitous.
- unlucky; sinister.
- Southern U.S. a tract of swampy land, usually along the coast.
Origin of dismal
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dismally
"I don't see that we can do anything for them at any time," he said, dismally.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
"I think the less she sees of me, the better she likes me," he said dismally.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
You will not wonder to see this narrative so dismally scrawled.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
"I don't know; but I suppose we can look," said Ted, dismally.Audrey Craven
Twas very dark and blustering and dismally cold at that time.The Cruise of the Shining Light
- causing gloom or depression
- causing dismay or terror
- of poor quality or a low standard; feeble
Word Origin and History for dismally
c.1400, from Anglo-French dismal (mid-13c.), from Old French (li) dis mals "(the) bad days," from Medieval Latin dies mali "evil or unlucky days" (also called dies Ægyptiaci), from Latin dies "days" (see diurnal) + mali, plural of malus "bad" (see mal-).
Through the Middle Ages, calendars marked two days of each month as unlucky, supposedly based on the ancient calculations of Egyptian astrologers (Jan. 1, 25; Feb. 4, 26; March 1, 28; April 10, 20; May 3, 25; June 10, 16; July 13, 22; Aug. 1, 30; Sept. 3, 21; Oct. 3, 22; Nov. 5, 28; Dec. 7, 22). Modern sense of "gloomy, dreary" first recorded in English 1590s, in reference to sounds. Related: Dismally.