abyss

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See also: Abyss.

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.

Usage notes[edit]

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

Quotations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 “abyss” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0, page 11.
  2. ^ “abyss” in William Morris, editor, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New York, N.Y.: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1971 [1969], OCLC 299754516, 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]