See also: Abyss.
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”), from βυθός (buthós, “deep place”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əˈbɪs/
- (US) IPA(key): /əˈbɪs/, /æˈbɪs/, enPR: ə-bĭs'
- Rhymes: -ɪs
Audio (US) (file)
- Hyphenation: a‧byss
abyss (plural abysses)
- Hell; the bottomless pit; primeval chaos; a confined subterranean ocean. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- 1955, Tolkien, J. R. R., The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, →ISBN, LCCN 2003110462, OCLC 317509976, OL 8875465M, page 190:
- 'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!'
- (frequently figuratively) A bottomless or unfathomed depth, gulf, or chasm; hence, any deep, immeasurable; any void space. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- Anything infinite, immeasurable, or profound. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- Moral depravity; vast intellectual or moral depth.
- They fell into the abyss of drug addiction.
- An impending catastrophic happening.
- (heraldry) The center of an escutcheon.
- (oceanography) The abyssal zone.
- (figuratively) A difference, especially a large difference, between groups.
- (impending catastrophic happening): It is typically preceded by the word the.
- For quotations using this term, see Citations:abyss.
- (difference): gulf
anything infinite, immeasurable, or profound
moral depravity, vast intellectual or moral depth
heraldry: center of an escutcheon
abyssal zone — see abyssal zone
- 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.
Translations to be checked
- Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abyss”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 11.
- ^ William Morris, editor (1969 (1971 printing)), “abyss”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New York, N.Y.: American Heritage Publishing Co., OCLC 299754516, page 6.
- ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 , →ISBN), page 9