- of or like an abyss; immeasurably deep or great.
- extremely or hopelessly bad or severe: abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty.
- immeasurable; very greatabysmal stupidity
- informal extremely badan abysmal film
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.