abysso-, abyss-, abys-

(Greek > Latin: Greek [abussoz], a-, "no" plus bussos, "bottom" through Latin [abyssus], "no bottom, bottomless")

At the bottom of modern man there is always a great thirst for self-forgetfulness, self-distraction; and therefore he turns away from all those problems and abysses which might recall to him his own nothingness.

—Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881)
abysm (s) (noun), abysms (pl)
1. Without a bottom; bottomless (no bottom): The deep canyon seemed to be an abysm because Jodi could not see the bottom.
2. Anything too deep for measurement: The well in the garden was an abysm because Daryl was unable to determine how deep it was.
3. An immeasurably profound depth or void; a bottomless pit: Verna's heart felt like an abysm of sadness after her boyfriend left her for another relationship.
abysmal (adjective), more abysmal, most abysmal
1. Immeasurably deep, severe, or extreme; fathomless: The depth of her sorrow was an abysmal situation and, as a result, she could find no expression except to cry.
2. Incapable of being measured or even understood; incomprehensible, inscrutable: Kristy felt like an abysmal failure because she couldn't remember how to spell the key word in the spelling contest.
3. Etymology: from the year 1656, formed in English from obsolete abysm, "bottomless gulf, greatest depths"; from Old French abisme, from Vulgar Latin abyssimus.
Profoundly or extremely bad.
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abysmally (adverb), more abysmally, most abysmally
In a terrible manner; very bad: Kirk's lack of manners abysmally reflected his upbringing and attendance at a lower level public school.
abyss (s) (noun), abysses (pl)
1. A bottomless pit: Jim leaned over the precipice and saw the deep abyss.
2. Anything too deep or too great to be measured; lowest depth: Melody's heart felt like an abyss of despair after she received the e-mail.
3. An immeasurably deep chasm, depth, or void: The canyon was described as an abyss because it was almost impossible to see its bottom.
4. The primeval chaos out of which it was believed that the earth and sky were formed: The film portrayed the abyss out of which the formation of the earth and solar system is supposed to have taken place.
5. The abode of evil spirits; hell, thought of as a bottomless pit: Hugh's anguished soul descended into the abyss of hell.

Strictly speaking, the abyss is a particular zone extending between 3,000 and 6,000 meters (9,840 and 19,680 feet at 3.28 feet per meter) in depth. By extension, the abyss is also used to designate the deep oceans everywhere.

abyssal (adjective), more abyssal, most abyssal
1. Of or inhabiting the depths of the ocean to which light does not penetrate; unfathomable: The abyssal fish appeared to be blind because there was no light where they lived.
2. In oceanography, of or relating to the deepest regions of the ocean and the organisms inhabiting that environment; at depths between 4,000 and 6,000 meters (13,123 feet and 19,685 feet): In order to explore the abyssal regions of the ocean, specialized underwater robots were used.
abyssal plains (pl) (noun)
Flat, sediment-covered areas in the deep ocean basin, usually at depths between 3,000 and 5,000 meters: Several sunken ships have been mired in the abyssal plains of the Atlantic Ocean.
abyssal-benthic (adjective) (not comparable)
In oceanography, of or relating to the deepest regions of the sea and the organisms inhabiting that environment: There was an article in Jim's newspaper reporting that a ship recently sank in the abyssal-benthic area of the Pacific Ocean near California and was completely inaccessible or unreachable.
abyssobenthic, abyssobenthonic (adjective); more abyssobenthic, more abyssobenthonic; most abyssobenthic, most abyssobenthonic
1. Pertaining to, or found on, the bottom of the ocean at depths exceeding about 1,000 meters (3280.839 feet): Willard had to use specialized equipment to explore the abyssobenthic areas of the ocean.
2. Living on or in the ocean floor in the great depths of the oceans or lakes into which light does not penetrate; commonly used in oceanography of depths between 4,000 and 6,000 meters (13,123 and 19,685 feet): The fish that was discovered recently was an example of an abyssobenthonic creature.
abyssolith (s) (noun), abyssoliths (pl)
A large mass of intrusive igneous rock having an exposed surface area of more than forty square miles, with no apparent base or floor of older rock: In their oil research, the scientists described the abyssolith layers of rock in which the fossil fuel could be found.

The term abyssolith is part of the vocabulary used in the science of petrology.

abyssopelagic (adjective), more abyssopelagic, most abyssopelagic
1. Relating to the region of deep water which excludes the ocean floor; floating in the ocean depths. Living in the oceanic water column at depths of between 4,000 and 6,000 meters [13,120 feet to 19,680 feet], seaward of the shelf-slope break: The marine biologists used specialized mechanical diving equipment to explore the abyssopelagic depths of the sea.
2. Of or relating to organisms or phenomena in midwater, but still at great depths: At the abyssopelagic depths of the sea, many of the creatures are blind.
hypabyssal (adjective), more hypabyssal, most hypabyssal
1. A description of igneous rocks; especially, in the form of dikes or sills, created when molten magma rose to the surface of the earth's crust but solidified before reaching it: The hypabyssal layer of rock was an impediment to the oil drilling in the ocean.
2. Designating a rock in texture that is intermediate between plutonites (a deep-seated rock) and extrusive rocks (forced out at the surface) which are usually formed at moderate distances below the surface: The term hypabyssal is part of the vocabulary used in the science of petrology.

The survey of the ocean floor indicated an extensive layer of hypabyssal rock on the bottom.

hypabyssally (adverb), more hypabyssally, most hypabyssally
Solidifying primarily as a minor intrusion; especially, as a dike or sill (a vertical or near-vertical mass of igneous rock that has forced its way upward through overlying strata), before reaching the surface: The hypabyssally formed rock was perceived by the drilling company as a serious impediment to their operations.

Inter-related cross references, directly or indirectly, involving the "sea" and the "ocean" bodies of water: Atlantic; batho-, bathy- (depth); bentho- (deep, depth); halio-, halo- (salt or "the sea"); mare, mari- (sea); necto-, nekto- (swimming); oceano-; pelago- (sea, ocean); plankto- (drifting); thalasso- (sea, ocean).