Definition of dismal in English:

dismal

Line breaks: dis¦mal
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪzm(ə)l
 
/

adjective

1Causing a mood of gloom or depression: the dismal weather made the late afternoon seem like evening
More example sentences
  • And mine is the world of the rented room, where damp creeps in in the dismal gloom and music is the only thing I own.
  • As glorious Tramore yet again defied the dismal weather forecasts the fans flocked to the seaside venue.
  • One idea is pushing election day back into October, to spare voters going to the polls in dismal weather.
Synonyms
1.1(Of a person or their mood) gloomy: his dismal mood was not dispelled by finding the house empty
More example sentences
  • Her reassuring smile did little to reassure her dismal friends.
  • After the past 10 days in the spotlight, internal morale for the 200 STB staff is dismal.
  • If these really are the views of those around him, one fears he must run with a rather dismal crowd.
Synonyms
1.2 informal Pitifully or disgracefully bad: he shuddered as he watched his team’s dismal performance
More example sentences
  • The play is a history of his romantic failures, with amorous adventures ranging from the comic to the pitiful but always dismal failures.
  • This self-centredness bothered some of his followers, who quit after the party's dismal electoral performance.
  • By that measure, too, Australia's recent performance looks dismal.
Synonyms
bad, poor, dreadful, awful, terrible, pitiful, disgraceful, lamentable, deplorable; inferior, mediocre, unsatisfactory, inadequate, second-rate, third-rate, shoddy, inept, bungling
informal crummy, dire, diabolical, bum, rotten, pathetic, lousy, poxy
British informal duff, rubbish, ropy, chronic, pants, a load of pants
vulgar slang crap, crappy, shitty
North American vulgar slang chickenshit
archaic direful
rare egregious

Origin

late Middle English: from earlier dismal (noun), denoting the two days in each month which in medieval times were believed to be unlucky, from Anglo-Norman French dis mal, from medieval Latin dies mali 'evil days'.

Phrases

the dismals

archaic , informal Low spirits: a fit of the dismals
More example sentences
  • Sunny Steve cut through the dismals
  • A Sunday lunch with roast chicken, roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy is one of those classic English meals that can soar into the culinary sublime or dive into the dismals.

the dismal science

humorous Economics.
More example sentences
  • Is it any wonder economics is called the dismal science?
  • Smith did not just found the dismal science (economics); he also helped to pioneer the sentimental science (the psychology of emotion).
  • It is not surprising, given this picture, that economics became known as the dismal science, since the only equilibrium situation was one of subsistence wages.

Derivatives

dismally

adverb
More example sentences
  • Since the currency was launched in a blaze of euphoria it has failed dismally to realise the potential which its supporters claimed it offered.
  • The eighteenth century found his work rather barbarous, while others have found his jokes dismally unfunny.
  • It has dismally failed to prevent over forty years of constant war in Africa where, at last count, about ten armed conflicts were raging.

dismalness

noun
More example sentences
  • At present the day was drizzling and chilly, while the huge volumes of smoke from a whole forest of factory chimneys tended to impart a deeper shade of dismalness to the dispiriting landscape.
  • When confronted with an empty tomb in our lives, do we look at the hopefulness of the situation or do we look at the dismalness of the situation?
  • To wait fruitfully is not to dream away the now, to brood about its dismalness, to protest its unacceptability, all the hallmarks of being bored.

Definition of dismal in:

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