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abysmal

[uh-biz-muh l]
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adjective
  1. of or like an abyss; immeasurably deep or great.
  2. extremely or hopelessly bad or severe: abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty.
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Origin of abysmal

First recorded in 1650–60; abysm + -al1
Related formsa·bys·mal·ly, adverbul·tra-a·bys·mal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for abysmal

abysmal

adjective
  1. immeasurable; very greatabysmal stupidity
  2. informal extremely badan abysmal film
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Derived Formsabysmally, 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

Word Origin and History for abysmal

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper