See more synonyms for abyss on Thesaurus.com
  1. a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity; vast chasm.
  2. anything profound, unfathomable, or infinite: the abyss of time.
  3. (in ancient cosmogony)
    1. the primal chaos before Creation.
    2. the infernal regions; hell.
    3. a subterranean ocean.

Origin of abyss

1350–1400; earlier abisse, Middle English abissus < Late Latin abyssus < Greek ábyssos bottomless, equivalent to a- a-6 + byssós bottom of the sea


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for abyss

void, depth, crevasse, chasm, gulf, fissure, gorge, hole, pit, abysm

Examples from the Web for abyss

Contemporary Examples of abyss

Historical Examples of abyss

British Dictionary definitions for abyss


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

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for abyss

late 14c., earlier abime (c.1300, from a form in Old French), from Late Latin abyssus "bottomless pit," from Greek abyssos (limne) "bottomless (pool)," from a- "without" (see a- (2)) + byssos "bottom," possibly related to bathos "depth."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper