Definition of abyss in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈbis/


1A deep or seemingly bottomless chasm: a rope led down into the dark abyss
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  • Staring into the seemingly deep and empty abyss some imagine enormous sharks or the legendary giant squid.
  • Less than 30 seconds later, Maready was treading water as she watched the red beacon light of her tail rudder spiral deeper into the dark abyss.
  • The companions walked in a huddled group as each of them kept looking over their shoulders and deep into the dark abyss, unable to close their eyes even for a second.
chasm, gorge, ravine, canyon, fissure, rift, crevasse, hole, gulf, pit, cavity, void, bottomless pit
1.1A wide or profound difference between people; a gulf: the abyss between the two nations
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  • It sets these individuals on a separate plane, creating an unnatural abyss between the organizer and the people for whom one works.
  • And all the while people suffer, the abyss between rich and poor yawns, and exploitation continues as the bitterest fact of everyday life.
  • Admittedly, there is a huge abyss between thought and words.
1.2The regions of hell conceived of as a bottomless pit: Satan’s dark abyss
More example sentences
  • This manuscript was conceived while I sat on a ledge overlooking the abyss of hell.
  • Let a people abruptly thrown in the abysses of hell maintain the suspense for a fortnight or two, so that it can exercise its sovereign power with sovereignty!
  • The shop clerk, a gnarled old woman with teeth blacker than the abysses of Hell, wheezed.
1.3 (the abyss) A catastrophic situation seen as likely to occur: teetering on the edge of the abyss of a total political wipeout
More example sentences
  • All this in the face of a decline in both profits and prestige in investment banking - one thinks of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his cronies dancing on the edge of the abyss.
  • While Tralee has the habit of going to the edge of the abyss and then pulling back dramatically, financially-troubled projects in the town are giving the area a very negative image.
  • A rare sight in the streets of Monrovia, Liberians know only too well they've miraculously been pulled back from the edge of the abyss.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'infernal pit'): via late Latin from Greek abussos 'bottomless', from a- 'without' + bussos 'depth'.

Words that rhyme with abyss

amiss, bis, bliss, Chris, Diss, hiss, kiss, Majlis, miss, reminisce, sis, Swiss, this, vis

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Syllabification: a·byss

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