Definitions

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

  • adj. Resembling an abyss in depth; unfathomable.
  • adj. Very profound; limitless: abysmal misery.
  • adj. Very bad: an abysmal performance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Bottomless; extremely bad.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or resembling, an abyss; bottomless; unending; profound.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to an abyss; bottomless; profound; fathomless; immeasurable.
  • Specifically Pertaining to great depths in the ocean: thus, species of plants found only at great depths are called abysmal species, and also abyssal (which see).

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

  • adj. resembling an abyss in depth; so deep as to be unmeasurable
  • adj. very great; limitless

Etymologies

abysm +‎ -al (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A University of Regina professor says the state of math education in schools can be traced to what he calls the "abysmal" training of university students studying to become teachers.

    CBC | Top Stories News

  • Acker, Ripple-Carpenter and the former sheepherder are working to bring attention to what they call abysmal treatment of the sheepherders.

    Glenwood Springs Post Independent - Top Stories

  • G.M.B. Akash takes photos of children who live and work in abysmal conditions in Bangladesh:

    Child Labour in Bangladesh

  • At the same time, the American Left was in abysmal disarray.

    Caught in the Crossfire: Adrian Scott and the Politics of Americanism in 1940s Hollywood

  • In the 1930s people around him lived in abysmal poverty, most of them eating less than one rice - gruel meal a day.

    Innovation in Kingdom Business

  • Wallace doesn't handle the ball well enough to turn it over much, but most people know that he can't hit treys and is abysmal from the stripe (42%) and not great from the floor (45%).

    USATODAY.com

  • This doesn't go, of course, for the mass of the people, living in abysmal ignorance and grinding poverty, their comprehension barely extending to the frontier.

    Inside Spain Today

  • Former franchisee Brumagin also is skeptical and says introducing somewhat fancier, higher-priced food could go the way of a healthy menu experiment in the mid-'90s that he called an "abysmal failure."

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • Some cleanup will probably take place tonight, my front hall and office are in abysmal condition just now because I’ve been lazy, lost some sleep, and been focused on other things.

    Friday the 13th...music and more...

  • The water supply and sanitation situation around the world can only be described as abysmal.

    H. David Nahai: The Global Water Crisis

Comments

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  • a gaufres et gouffres layout.

    February 18, 2013

  • Better vocabulary and good strategy helps in avoiding an absymal score in SAT.

    February 18, 2013

  • To deep to be measured/ Sentence- That movie was an abysmal failure. (Newbury House Dictionary)

    September 25, 2010