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abysmal (adj.)

1650s, "pertaining to an abyss," formed in English from abysm + -al (1). Perhaps only a dictionary word before 19c. 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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Definitions of abysmal from WordNet

abysmal (adj.)
very great; limitless;
abysmal misery
abysmal stupidity
abysmal (adj.)
resembling an abyss in depth; so deep as to be unmeasurable;
Synonyms: abyssal / unfathomable
From wordnet.princeton.edu

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