[ uh-bis ]
See synonyms for abyss on Thesaurus.com
  1. a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity; vast chasm.

  2. anything that seems to be without end or is impossible to measure, define, or comprehend: the abyss of their grief and sorrow.

  1. (in ancient cosmogony)

    • the primal chaos before Creation.

    • the infernal regions; hell.

    • a subterranean ocean.

Origin of abyss

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English abissus, from Late Latin abyssus, from Greek ábyssos “bottomless,” equivalent to a- a-6 + byssós “bottom of the sea”

Words Nearby abyss

Other definitions for Abyss. (2 of 2)


  1. Abyssinia.

  2. Abyssinian.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use abyss in a sentence

  • He sees no longer the brink of the abyss beside which the path of progress picks its painful way.

  • In the abyss of her heart, too deep at first for recognition, the girl loved him, and had loved him from the very beginning.

    Three More John Silence Stories | Algernon Blackwood
  • The path leading to it is over a small ledge of rock, skirted on each side by a yawning abyss.

  • The poor, tearful desire lays a pale hand on reason's lips and gazes wistfully into the mysterious abyss of the Great Silence.

    God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
  • She points to her pinions stretched over the abyss of primeval fire, her eyes blinded by its awful glare, and remains silent.

    Gospel Philosophy | J. H. Ward

British Dictionary definitions for abyss


/ (əˈbɪs) /

  1. a very deep or unfathomable gorge or chasm

  2. anything that appears to be endless or immeasurably deep, such as time, despair, or shame

  1. hell or the infernal regions conceived of as a bottomless pit

Origin of abyss

C16: via Late Latin from Greek abussos bottomless (as in the phrase abussos limnē bottomless lake), from a- 1 + bussos depth

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