abyss

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English abissus, from Late Latin abyssus (a bottomless gulf), from Ancient Greek ἄβυσσος (ábussos, bottomless), from ἀ- (a-, not)+ βυσσός (bussós, deep place),[1],[2] from βυθός (buthós, deep place).[3]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

abyss (plural abysses)

  1. Hell; the bottomless pit; primeval chaos; a confined subterranean ocean. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
  2. (frequently figuratively) A bottomless or unfathomed depth, gulf, or chasm; hence, any deep, immeasurable; any void space. [First attested in the late 16th century.][1]
  3. Anything infinite, immeasurable, or profound. [First attested in the late 16th century.][1]
  4. Moral depravity; vast intellectual or moral depth.
  5. An impending catastrophic happening.
  6. (heraldry) The center of an escutcheon.

Quotations[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • (impending catastrophic happening): It is typically preceded by the word the.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 11
  2. ^ William Morris (editor), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1971 [1969]; American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc.; ISBN 0-395-09066-0), page 6
  3. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 9

Anagrams[edit]