Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An abyss.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An abyss; a gulf.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A gulf; an abyss: as, “the abysm of hell,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bottomless gulf or pit; any unfathomable (or apparently unfathomable) cavity or chasm or void extending below (often used figuratively)

Etymologies

Middle English abime, from Old French abisme, from Vulgar Latin *abissimus, alteration of Late Latin abyssus; see abyss.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • First, in refraining the power of the devil, like as it is said (Apocalypsis vicesimo), of the angel that bound the devil and sent him into abysm, that is the pit of hell; and Tobit, which saith that the angel Raphael bound the devil in the outerest desert.

    The Golden Legend, vol. 5

  • It is hard for women to resist the temptation of jewelries and women's jewelry box is like an abysm which is never full.

    TravelPod.com TravelStream™ — Recent Entries at TravelPod.com

  • And all my austere nights of midnight oil, all the books I had read, all the wisdom I had gathered, went glimmering before the ape and tiger in me that crawled up from the abysm of my heredity, atavistic, competitive and brutal, lustful with strength and desire to outswine the swine.

    Chapter 27

  • Even going through it online I learned that, while ‘abysm’ (a lovely word) has fallen out of use in favour of ‘abyss’, we tend to use ‘abysmal’ rather than ‘abyssal’.

    In praise of a reference book: MWDEU

  • Showing in the blue abysm vistas luminously strange,

    The Voyage of Magellan

  • It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh.

    Asher Smith: Refudiate is the New Normalcy

  • For today's younger audience, the 1960s and 1970s are so far lost in the backward abysm of time that they're more or less Victorian.

    Archive 2010-07-01

  • But before I do, I'm going to borrow a meme from a recent blog entry by my friend Lev whose blog you ought to be reading because it is excellent, and sort my iTunes by play count, thus sharing the dark backwards and abysm of my musical taste with you.

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • "And all my austere nights of midnight oil, all the book I had read, all the wisdom I had gathered, went glimmering before the ape and tiger in me that crawled up from the abysm of my heredity, atavistic, competitive, and brutal, lustful with strength and desire to outswine the swine."

    THE PHILOSOPHY OF JACK LONDON

  • H.L. Mencken once wrote of Warren Harding that his inaugural address was "so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it," that it drug itself out of the "dark abysm ... of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh."

    Robert Schlesinger: Giuliani Gibberish

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  • "I resolved to run on for one glimpse of the still remoter future - one peep into the deeper abysm of time - and then to return to you and my own epoch."

    - Wells, The Time Machine

    June 5, 2008

  • The flabby wine-skin of his brain
    Yields to some pathologic strain,
    And voids from its unstored abysm
    The driblet of an aphorism.

    Ambrose Bierce, The Mad Philosopher

    I'm never opening my mouth in front of my class again.

    October 14, 2007