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Abysmal   Listen
adjective
Abysmal  adj.  Pertaining to, or resembling, an abyss; bottomless; unending; profound. "Geology gives one the same abysmal extent of time that astronomy does of space."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Abysmal" Quotes from Famous Books



... proposed to its proprietress to sit to me. Only she came round promptly—which Lady Beldonald really never did. Mrs. Munden was in fact wonderful; for when I had given her quickly "Why she's a Holbein, you know, absolutely," she took it up, after a first fine vacancy, with an immediate abysmal "Oh is she?" that, as a piece of social gymnastics, did her the greatest honour; and she was in fact the first in London to spread the tidings. For a face—about it was magnificent. But she was also the first, I must add, to see what would really happen—though this she put before me ...
— The Beldonald Holbein • Henry James

... college professor's wife continued immovably grave during this brief summary of an educational system. She inquired, "How old is Arnold now?" learned that he was seventeen, remembered that, oh yes, he was a year older than Sylvia, and allowed the subject to drop into one of the abysmal silences for which she alone had the courage. Her husband's sister was as little proof against it as her husband. As it continued, Mrs. Marshall-Smith went through the manoeuvers which in a less perfectly bred ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... upon tendencies in the West with more concern: Roosevelt, although admitting the honesty of the Populists, characterized their ignorance as "abysmal"; others were more inclined to doubt their sincerity; their conventions were supposed to be made up of cranks and unsexed women; and their principles were looked upon as "wild ...
— The United States Since The Civil War • Charles Ramsdell Lingley

... already slept afar Each of them in his own dear native land. Still on the Painter's fresco, from the hand Of God takes Eve the life-spark whereunto She trembles up from nothingness. Outdo Both of them, Music! Dredging deeper yet, Drag into day,—by sound, thy master-net,— The abysmal bottom-growth, ambiguous thing Unbroken of a branch, palpitating With limbs' play and life's semblance! There it lies, Marvel and mystery, of mysteries And marvels, most to love and laud thee for! Save it from chance and change we most abhor! Give momentary feeling permanence, So that ...
— Browning's England - A Study in English Influences in Browning • Helen Archibald Clarke

... the surface which Richelieu had converted into adamant grew thinner and thinner each day, until king and court danced upon a mere gilded crust, unconscious of the abysmal fires beneath. Some of those powdered heads fell into the executioner's basket twenty-five years later. Did they recall this time? Did Madame du Barry think of it? Did she exult at her triumph over de Pompadour, when she was dragged shrieking and ...
— A Short History of France • Mary Platt Parmele

... some one indisputable proof of a still undisintegrated body, some crisp, reassuring method of outlining one's corporeal edges, some sensory roll-call, as it were of—head, hands, feet, sides! But out of oblivion, out of space abysmal, out of sensory annihilation, to come vaporing back, back, back,—headless, armless, legless, trunkless, conscious only of consciousness, uncertain yet whether the full awakening prove itself—this world or the next! As ...
— Little Eve Edgarton • Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

... adoption of the modern scientific method has been the tendency of those endeavoring to bring light into the dark nooks and crannies of human existence, to immerse themselves in an abysmal materialism from which ...
— The Planet Mars and its Inhabitants - A Psychic Revelation • Eros Urides and J. L. Kennon

... come upon our shining treasure in the exact form that our ignorance had fancied, we discover it after a similitude that a much higher wisdom has ordained. But the point is that we do find it. That was the lesson that I learned as I peered into the abysmal darkness of the mysterious old cupboard in my childhood, and the longer I live the more certain ...
— Mushrooms on the Moor • Frank Boreham

... a common enough expression on the lips of those who know nothing of what they are talking about, and Jill, who had often used the words, stood transfixed at the abysmal blackness in front ...
— Desert Love • Joan Conquest

... aid already given, Prom brazen skies call down abundant showers, Are heard when sickness threats or danger lowers, Win for a war-worn land the smiles of peace, And crown the year with plentiful increase. Song checks the hand of Jove in act to smite; Song soothes the dwellers in abysmal night. ...
— The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry • Horace

... (duty is always a good catchword in German appeal) to hate individual Englishmen, such as Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd George. No, we must go far beyond that. We must hate the very essence of everything English. We must hate the very soul of England. An abysmal gulf yawns between the two nations which can never, and must never, be bridged over. We need borrow Kultur from no nation on earth, for we ourselves have developed the highest Kultur ...
— The Land of Deepening Shadow - Germany-at-War • D. Thomas Curtin

... Having devised them, she leaves their operation to the blindness of chance. Steps in man and controls and directs them. For the first time in the history of life conscious intelligence forms and transforms life. These yearnings and desires, promptings of the "abysmal fecundity," have in man evolved into what is called "love." They arise in instinct and sensation and culminate in sentiment and emotion. They master man, and the intellect of man, as they master the beast and all the acts of the beast. And they operate in the development ...
— The Kempton-Wace Letters • Jack London

... they parted. As for proposing to the president to go up with him, no one even thought of it; 'twas so high, boufre! And the nearer they came to it the higher it grew, the abysses were more abysmal, the peaks bristled up in a white chaos, which looked to be insurmountable. It was better to look at ...
— Tartarin On The Alps • Alphonse Daudet

... she should fail and perish utterly, God, before whom ever lie bare The abysmal deeps of Personality, [39] Plagued her with ...
— The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson • Tennyson

... continue to be an unsatisfactory, even vicious, way of attempting to teach social science. No reputable university tries to teach economics or politics nowadays in huge lecture sections. Only an abnormal conceit or abysmal poverty will prevent sociology departments from doing likewise. Remember that education is always an exchange, never ...
— College Teaching - Studies in Methods of Teaching in the College • Paul Klapper

... the world of intangibilities was growing, growing as only that world can grow from the abysmal silence of life that went before. St. George was saying to himself that at last the Here and the Now were infinitely desirable; and as for the fear for the morrow, what was that beside the promise of the days beyond? At noon they all climbed the Obelisk ...
— Romance Island • Zona Gale

... strained at the ropes, Stern with them; and now the great weight below was surely rising, inch by inch, up, up, toward the black and gleaming surface of the abysmal sea. ...
— Darkness and Dawn • George Allan England

... worth of a truth for the individual. If man were shut up to mere feeling, even the awe of the devout agnostic would be impossible. For the Unknowable cannot generate any emotion. It appears to do so, only because the Unknowable of the agnostic is not altogether unknown to him; but is a vast, abysmal "Something," that has occupied with its shadowy presence the field of his imagination. It is paganism stricken with the plague, and philosophy afflicted with blindness, that build altars to an unknown God. The highest and the strongest faith, the deepest trust and the most loving, come with ...
— Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher • Henry Jones

... resented the aptness of that degrading simile. It was a new sensation; and he did not relish it. The few women he intimately loved had counted for so much in his life that he scarcely realised his abysmal ignorance of the power that is in woman—the mere opposite of man; the implicit challenge, the potent lure. Partly from temperament, partly from principle, he had kept more or less clear of 'all that'. Now, weaponless, he had ...
— Far to Seek - A Romance of England and India • Maud Diver

... terra firma now for anything." He handed his aunt in, and then Bertie. He exacted from Bertie a perfectly superfluous shake of the hand, bowed over that hand with a sudden access of gravity, and lost himself in an abysmal reverie before he had ...
— With the Procession • Henry B. Fuller

... that came over him he cursed that greater power until, shuddering, he realised his own blasphemy, and a broken prayer burst from his lips. He had come to the end of all things, he was fighting through abysmal darkness. His need was overwhelming—alone he could not go forward, and desperately, he turned to the Divine Mercy and prayed for ...
— The Shadow of the East • E. M. Hull

... profound, intricate, inexplicable, unfathomable, incomprehensible, recondite, abstruse; abysmal; sagacious, cunning, astute, shrewd; dark, intense; grave, grum, full-toned, guttural. Antonyms: ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... surviving from primitive times; assurance of eternal felicity to the faithful; belief that the soul was on earth to be proved before its final return to the universal spirit, of which it was a spark; the existence of an abysmal abode for the evil, against whom the faithful must keep up an unceasing struggle; the destruction of the universe, {ix} the death of the wicked, and the eternal happiness of the good in a ...
— The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism • Franz Cumont

... Louis Quillan had led her to the window-seat beneath the corridor, and sat holding one plump trifle of a hand, the, while her speech fluttered bird-like from this topic to that; and be regarded Nelchen Thorn with an abysmal content. The fates, he considered, had ...
— Gallantry - Dizain des Fetes Galantes • James Branch Cabell

... of his formidable insight can be best enjoyed, not without little side-lights of a laconic irony, in the "Conversations"; while in Wilhelm Meister we learn to become adepts in the art of living in the Beautiful and True, in Faust that abysmal doubt as to the whole mad business of life is undermined with a craft equal to his own in the delineation and defeat of "the ...
— One Hundred Best Books • John Cowper Powys

... to Kielland with burden of ten months' frustration in his voice. "They're stupid," he said slowly. "They are so incredibly stupid I could go screaming into the swamp every time I see one of them coming. Their stupidity is positively abysmal." ...
— The Native Soil • Alan Edward Nourse

... Even as the banners And spear of the Morning; Sifting the nations, The Slag from the metal, The waste and the weak From the fit and the strong; Fighting the brute, The abysmal Fecundity; Checking the gross Multitudinous blunders, The groping, the purblind Excesses in service Of the ...
— The Human Drift • Jack London

... wrought its effects. Hamilton, shut in though he was, adapted himself to the narrow world of an invalid's room and its few interests. With the wealth he had fortunately inherited he brought to his side leading specialists who might possibly help him, and went through alternate ecstatic hopes and abysmal fears as the great men came and departed. Very quietly, too, he helped others less fortunate, financially, than himself. The nurses and physicians in the hospital where he lay learned to like and admire him, and other patients, convalescents or newcomers who were able to move about, ...
— Many Kingdoms • Elizabeth Jordan

... eyes, would have struck the most thoughtless mind. Nothing is more terrible to behold than excessive grief that is rarely allowed to break forth, of which traces were left on this woman's face like lava congealed about a crater. She might have been a dying mother compelled to leave her children in abysmal depths of wretchedness, unable to bequeath them ...
— The Alkahest • Honore de Balzac

... he repeated, and cast his eyes to the sky, shaking his head awesomely. "It's a Place," he said, with abysmal solemnity,—"a Place I shouldn't have mentioned in your ...
— The Conquest of Canaan • Booth Tarkington

... attributes of hers were what he needed to win him, to cheer him, to charm him, to guide him. He longed so to please her, to ingratiate himself with her, that he attempted to be light like her in his talk, but lapsed into abysmal absences and gloomy recesses ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... rejected the teachings of Confucius, and, in short, became a convert to Christianity. This might be considered either as a gratifying testimony to the persuasive powers of Catholic missionaries, or as an example of the wiles of Jesuitism, if we did not know the inner history of Mr. Ling's soul, the abysmal depths of his personality. He has not, like many other modern converts, written a little book, such as "How I ceased to chinchin Joss; or, from Confucius to Christianity," but he has told Madame Judith Mendes all about it. Madame Mendes has made a name in literature, and English readers ...
— Lost Leaders • Andrew Lang

... the Twins' attitude towards Robin. "Here," said they in effect, "is a fine upstanding young man, full of promise, but hampered in every direction by abysmal ignorance on matters of vital importance. His instincts are sound, but at present he is quite impossible. ...
— The Right Stuff - Some Episodes in the Career of a North Briton • Ian Hay

... against the wall of rock which—magnified in the flash—seemed frightfully near to them. The next instant Burgess himself—his boat lifted by the swiftly advancing billow—saw a wild waste of raging seas scooped into abysmal troughs, in which the bulk of a leviathan might wallow. At the bottom of one of these valleys of water lay the mutineers' boat, looking, with its outspread oars, like some six-legged insect floating in a pool of ink. The great cliff, whose every scar and crag was as distinct ...
— For the Term of His Natural Life • Marcus Clarke

... they invent when they're exceptionally good and clever. When they're not they don't do so well; but it's not for want of trying. There's only one thing in the world better than their incomparable charm: it's their abysmal conscience. Deep calleth unto deep—the one's indeed a part of the other. And when they club together, when they earnestly consider, as in the case we're supposing," Nash continued, "then the whole thing takes a lift; for it's no longer the virtue of the individual, ...
— The Tragic Muse • Henry James

... the power to love possessed by accuser and accused. As Dion listened to the discussion he realized what a driving terror, what a great black figure, almost monstrous, love can be—not only the sunshine, but the abysmal darkness ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... incomparable sympathy of the Victim. How shall we account for His recoil from the thought of dying, for His shrinking from this death as from something which sickened Him, for the darkness and anguish of His soul in Gethsemane at the prospect, and for the abysmal sense of forsakenness on the cross? His sensitiveness of heart made Him feel the pain and shame of other men, a pain and shame they were frequently too stolid and obtuse to feel. He could not see able-bodied and willing workmen standing idle in the marketplace ...
— Some Christian Convictions - A Practical Restatement in Terms of Present-Day Thinking • Henry Sloane Coffin

... them. What exists, however, is deaf to this moral emphasis in the eternal; nature exists for no reason; and, indeed, why should she have subordinated her own arbitrariness to a good that is no less arbitrary? This good, however, is somehow good notwithstanding; so that there is an abysmal wrong in its not being obeyed. The world is, in principle, totally depraved; but as the good is not a power, there is no one to redeem the world. The saints are those who, imitating the impotent dogmatism ...
— Winds Of Doctrine - Studies in Contemporary Opinion • George Santayana

... hands. This evil-breathing thing at his feet was the primal cause of it all, he and a man's damnable weakness. Of what use his new-found fortune? Better for him had he stayed in the jungle, better have died there, hugging his poor delusion. Oh, abysmal fool ...
— Parrot & Co. • Harold MacGrath

... speculate and is greedy and ignorant enough to be taken in by the wiles of the fraudulent promoter, attempts by legislation to check this gentleman's enterprise will be defeated by his ingenuity and the public's eagerness to be gulled. The ignorance of the public on the subject of its investments is abysmal, as anybody knows who is brought into practical touch with it. Just as the cure for the production of rotten and fraudulent patent medicines thrust down the public's throat by assiduous advertising is the education of the public concerning the ...
— War-Time Financial Problems • Hartley Withers

... as this, appeared no one could say whence, hungry and smelling of caves and old tombs—bareheaded wretches with naked arms and legs, hair and beard in uncombed mats, and each with one garment the color of clay; beasts with abysmal mouths, in outcry effective as lions calling each other across desert spaces. Some of them had swords; a greater number flourished spears and javelins; though the weapons of the many were staves and knotted clubs, and slings, ...
— Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ • Lew Wallace

... toward Scythia and Rhipaean heights The world mounts upward, likewise sinks it down Toward Libya and the south, this pole of ours Still towering high, that other, 'neath their feet, By dark Styx frowned on, and the abysmal shades. Here glides the huge Snake forth with sinuous coils 'Twixt the two Bears and round them river-wise- The Bears that fear 'neath Ocean's brim to dip. There either, say they, reigns the eternal hush Of night that ...
— The Georgics • Virgil

... willowy figure, contrasted with much richer costumes, not one of which had its character of bold simplicity. De Gery, from his corner, gazed at that smooth, narrow forehead beneath the fringe of hair brushed low, those long, wide-open eyes of a deep blue, an abysmal blue, that mouth which ceased to smile only to relax its classic outline in a weary, spiritless expression. All in all, the somewhat haughty aspect of an ...
— The Nabob, Volume 1 (of 2) • Alphonse Daudet

... We know that many of these islands are honeycombed with caverns and vast subterranean spaces, literally underground lands running in some cases far out beneath the ocean floor. It is possible that for some reason survivors of this race sought refuge in the abysmal spaces, one of whose entrances is on the islet where Throckmartin's ...
— The Moon Pool • A. Merritt

... the theatrical and operatic professions, those hotbeds of conceit, you will generally find among the "stars" abysmal depths of discouragement and despair. One great tenor, who has delighted New York audiences during several winters past, invariably announces to his intimates on arising that his "voice has gone," and that, in consequence he will "never sing again," and has to be caressed and cajoled back ...
— Worldly Ways and Byways • Eliot Gregory

... now at last, about to part, there stretched an abysmal gulf which might never personally ...
— The Magnificent Adventure - Being the Story of the World's Greatest Exploration and - the Romance of a Very Gallant Gentleman • Emerson Hough

... no brave part. I know I was anything but a hero. Besides, of what use would it have been for me to encounter Red-Eye? He was the mighty monster, the abysmal brute, and there was no hope for me in a conflict of strength. He would have killed me, and the situation would have remained unchanged. He would have caught the Swift One before she could have gained the cave. As it was, I could only look on in helpless fury, ...
— Before Adam • Jack London

... Night's primeval bars, I dared the old abysmal curse, And flashed through ranks of frightened stars Suddenly ...
— The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke • Rupert Brooke

... and again the gun crept slowly upward. The quarter-breed had heard the words. With a mighty effort he filled his lungs and from between the blue-grey lips sang a wild, shrill scream of abysmal soul-terror. Chloe Elliston's heart went sick at the cry, which rang in her ears as the very epitome of mortal agony. She felt her knees grow weak and she glanced at the Louchoux girl, who knelt close, still staring into the upturned face, the while her ...
— The Gun-Brand • James B. Hendryx

... its eyes as it pressed the bolster down; and watched the murdered creature's contortions grow fainter, and fainter, until they finally ceased. The eyes then left the room; and from afar off, away below, in the abysmal cellars of the house, came the sound of digging—faint, very faint, but unquestionably digging. This terminated the grim, phantasmal drama for that night at least, and Letty, chilled to the bone, but thoroughly alert, escaped to her room. ...
— Scottish Ghost Stories • Elliott O'Donnell

... activities of the monkeys I had seen among the trees between Agra and Delhi and scampering over the parapets of Benares, all thieves and libertines with a charter, and the restriction of these poor cowering mannikins, overcrowded in their cages, with an abysmal sorrow in their eyes. Many died on the voyage, and I think the Indian Government should look into the question of their export ...
— Roving East and Roving West • E.V. Lucas

... suddenly? His gaze wandered from the girl to the body of the dead bull. For the first time there flashed to his understanding the explanation of the reason for the girl's attempted abduction. Korak's eyes went wide and then they closed to narrow slits of rage as he stood glaring down upon the abysmal brute at his feet. When next his glance rose to Meriem's face a slow flush suffused his own. Now, indeed, was he looking upon her through new eyes—the eyes of a ...
— The Son of Tarzan • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... It was as if a mountain of black rock had been carved by the sons of Uranus, the mighty Titans of old, into gigantic fortresses, which the lightnings, temblors, and whirlwinds of the eons had rent into ruins. Its heights were not green like Tahiti's, but bare and black, true children of the abysmal cataclysm which in the time of the making of these oases of the sea thrust them up from the fires ...
— Mystic Isles of the South Seas. • Frederick O'Brien

... few moments all the stars came out above the intense blackness of the earth and the great lagoon gleaming suddenly with reflected lights resembled an oval patch of night sky flung down into the hopeless and abysmal night of the wilderness. The white man had some supper out of the basket, then collecting a few sticks that lay about the platform, made up a small fire, not for warmth, but for the sake of the smoke, which would keep off ...
— Tales of Unrest • Joseph Conrad

... the heavy departing footsteps and to the doubts that stirred in her heart. Then she noiselessly turned away into the room, and drawing the curtain peered through the window. Black darkness stood behind, motionless, waiting, gaping, with its flat, abysmal mouth. ...
— Mother • Maxim Gorky

... were on duty in the observation car, painfully conscious of the scenery and the obligations it imposed. To experience some ecstasy, more or less, was imperative, and it was weary work for most of them. They stuck to it manfully and woman-fully, with abysmal furtive yawns; but the skirmish between the conductor and their fellow-passenger came as a sort of godsend, and when the transfer of a dollar bill, incredibly dirty and greasy and tattered, had brought warfare to a close, they still had the voluntary exile to stare at. He was a welcome ...
— Despair's Last Journey • David Christie Murray

... Man's poverty is abysmal, his wants are endless till he becomes truly conscious of his soul. Till then, the world to him is in a state of continual flux— a phantasm that is and is not. For a man who has realised his soul there is a determinate ...
— Sadhana - The Realisation of Life • Rabindranath Tagore

... coast; at another time, if the land should rise, the shore line might coincide with the real border of the continent. By the real border of the continent we mean the line along which the earth slopes down steeply to the abysmal ...
— The Western United States - A Geographical Reader • Harold Wellman Fairbanks

... comic opera or in the penny dreadful. Emotionally we have lost touch with him as we have with Byron's Corsair. When he stalks across the serious stage and rages and fumes and wipes his bloody sword, we are inclined to smile or to yawn. As for the villain Franz, with his abysmal depravity, and Amalia, with her witless sentimentalism, we find it hard to take them seriously; they do not produce a good illusion. And then the whole style of the piece, the violent and ribald language, the savage action, the rant and swagger, the shooting and stabbing,—all ...
— The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller • Calvin Thomas

... the low, one-story building he could see the lobby call-board, with the little colored studs all dark. He smiled in unpleasant satisfaction—no one was left in the building. It was routine, just like everything else in this god-forsaken hole. Utter, abysmal, trancelike routine. The girl was a little later than usual, probably because of the ship coming in tomorrow. Reports to get ready, ...
— Martyr • Alan Edward Nourse

... have wrecked civilization, after all, according to the morning Courier-Herald, despite that Democratic paper's colorful prophecies last autumn in the vein of Jeremiah. To the contrary, Major-General McArthur was testifying before the Senate as to the abysmal unfitness of the Filipinos for self-government; the Women's Clubs were holding a convention in Los Angeles; there had been terrible hailstorms this year to induce the annual ruining of the peach-crop, and the submarine Fulton had exploded; the California Limited had been derailed in ...
— The Cords of Vanity • James Branch Cabell et al

... profound dejection and abysmal solemnity: 'I don't know, Willis. Don't you see that it must have been—that I ...
— The Garotters • William D. Howells

... wont to keep— Pinion to pinion answering, sweep for sweep, In awful diapason heard afar, But shoutingly adrift 'twixt star and star. Reeling a planet's orbit left or right As laughter took them in the abysmal Night; Or, by the point of some remembered jest, Winged and brought helpless down through gulfs unguessed, Where the blank worlds that gather to the birth Leaped in the womb of Darkness at their mirth, And e'en Gehenna's bondsmen understood. They were not ...
— A Diversity of Creatures • Rudyard Kipling

... companion, as a man appeared on the landing, to inquire in an abysmal tone, if "them boxes was ready to be took?" Helen Cumberly forestalled an insolent refusal which the cook, by furtive ...
— The Yellow Claw • Sax Rohmer

... have a boat-bridge; boats planked together two and two. At Pirna are plenty of boats; and by oar and track-rope, the River itself might be a road for them? Boats or pontoons to Konigstein, by water or land, they must be got. Eight miles of abysmal roads, our horses all extenuated? Impossible to cart these pontoons!" said Rutowski to himself.—Pity he had not tried it. He had a week to do those eight bad miles in; and 2,000 lean horses, picking grass or brown leaves, while their riders threshed. "We will drag our pontoons ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XVII. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—The Seven-Years War: First Campaign—1756-1757. • Thomas Carlyle

... cliffs of various form; Abysmal depths, and dire profundities; Chasms so deep and awful that the eye Of soaring eagle dare not gaze below, Lest, dizzied, he should lose his aerial poise, And headlong falling, ...
— Mountain idylls, and Other Poems • Alfred Castner King

... had not divined how it had grown into her days, as subtly as the growth of little cell and little cell. And now the weight upon her, instead of lifting, soaring in the possibility of the return of her old freedom, lay the more heavily, and her sense of oppression became abysmal.... "Something is going to happen," she had ...
— Christmas - A Story • Zona Gale

... familiarizing our minds with the idea that the universe is a universe, a oneness; that its laws are continuous. We follow the chemistry of it to the farthest stars and there is no serious break or exception; it is all of one stuff. We follow the mechanics of it into the same abysmal depths, and there are no breaks or exceptions. The biology of it we cannot follow beyond our own little corner of the universe; indeed, we have no proof that there is any biology anywhere else. But if there is, it must be similar to our own. There is only one kind of electricity (though two phases ...
— The Breath of Life • John Burroughs

... abysmal distances!—attempt to force the gaze down the multitudinous vistas of the stars, as we sweep slowly through them thus—and thus—and thus! Even the spiritual vision, is it not at all points arrested by the continuous golden walls of the universe?—the walls of the myriads of the shining ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... upon the fattest of the expensive books supplied to him by the State, opened it with emphasis and began not to read it, with abysmal abstraction, tinglingly alert to the circumstance that Truslow was holding a low-toned but lively conversation with the unknown. Her laugh came to him, at once musical, quiet and of a quality which irritated him into saying bitterly to himself that he guessed there ...
— In the Arena - Stories of Political Life • Booth Tarkington

... the white tongues of flame were shooting this way and that across the startled heavens; and there was a more awful thunder than even the falling of the Atlantic surge booming into the great sea-caves. In the abysmal darkness the spectral arms of the ocean rose white in their angry clamor; and then another blue gleam would lay bare the great heaving and wreathing bosom of the deep. What devil's dance is this? Surely it cannot be Ulva—Ulva the ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 5 • Various

... with the aristocracy of Portugal, might balk his measures by its deliberate supineness; echoes might reach him of the voices at St. Stephen's that loudly dubbed his dispositions rash, presumptuous and silly; catch-halfpenny journalists at home and men of the stamp of Lord Grey might exploit their abysmal military ignorance in reckless criticism and censure of his operations; he knew what a passionate storm of anger and denunciation had arisen from the Opposition when he had been raised to the peerage some months earlier, after the glorious victory ...
— The Snare • Rafael Sabatini

... matches by this time, and seemed disappointed that none was to be found in his pockets. I don't know why he should seem to recede from me, for he didn't move an inch from where he stood with that defensively mocking smile on his face. But abysmal gulfs of space seemed to blow in like sea-mists between him and me, desolating and lonely stretches of emptiness which could never again be spanned by the tiny bridges of hope. I felt alone, terribly alone, in a world over which the last fire had swept and the last ...
— The Prairie Child • Arthur Stringer

... that heart as few men know, and your eyes are fey and deep, With a "something lost" come welling back from the raw, red dawn of life: With woe and pain have you greatly lain, till out of abysmal sleep The soul of the Stone Age leaps in you, alert ...
— Rhymes of a Rolling Stone • Robert W. Service

... bespatter it with blood, but that would not hinder it from plunging itself into nothingness in the abysmal ...
— The Inside Story Of The Peace Conference • Emile Joseph Dillon

... such question could but prove abysmal ignorance of Sourdough's quality. The big husky was not scratched, and of fighting he could hardly be given enough while his heart continued to beat. Before, he had been angered. Before, he had loathed and hated Jan. And now Jan had rolled him over on his back as though he were a ...
— Jan - A Dog and a Romance • A. J. Dawson

... down we went, for an interminable length of time—till at length we reached the abysmal level where the sun never shone and the eyes of man had ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science September 1930 • Various

... sharpness of conception of how she had behaved, and it was a statement that she for the most part found herself able to make. What had happened at present was that nothing, as she felt, was left of her to report to; she was all too sunk in the inevitable and the abysmal. To give an account of herself she must give it to somebody else, and her first instalment of it to her hostess was that she must please let her cry. She couldn't cry, with Milly in observation, at the hotel, which she had accordingly ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume II • Henry James

... no more loyal and enthusiastic Princetonian ever lived, to my mind, had the right idea. During one of those periods of abysmal depths of despondency into which a losing team is plunged, he rushed into the room, waving his arms over his head in his characteristic manner, and ...
— Football Days - Memories of the Game and of the Men behind the Ball • William H. Edwards

... labyrinth of deep, constricted, reeking ditches, with so little to differentiate one from another that the prisoner wondered at the sure sense of direction which enabled the corporal to find his way without mis-step, with the added handicap of the abysmal darkness. Then, of a sudden, the sides of the trench shelved sharply downward, and the two debouched into a broad, open field. Here many men lay sleeping, with only waterproof sheets for protection from that bitter deluge which whipped the earth into ...
— The False Faces • Vance, Louis Joseph

... were unusually abysmal. He stood with his back to the door of his theater as though shielding it from Philistine assaults upon the ...
— Otherwise Phyllis • Meredith Nicholson

... them went off into a fit of silent laughter, for the abysmal ignorance of Wesley Thompson concerning practical things, his awkward length of body, his student's pallor that the Athabasca sun had played such havoc with, his blue eyes that looked so often with ...
— Burned Bridges • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... "That's because of your abysmal military ignorance, Dominie. Let me tell you how it is in our army. A fellow can get himself made a captain by pull, or a major by luck, or a colonel by desk-work, or a general by having a fine martial figure, but to get ...
— From a Bench in Our Square • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... the epithet queenly if it is applied to the possession of this matchless outlook on the grandest manifestations of nature. If the Denver citizen brags more of his State Capitol, his Metropole Hotel (no accent, please!), and his smelting works than of his snow-piled mountains and abysmal canons, he only follows a natural human instinct in estimating most highly that which ...
— The Land of Contrasts - A Briton's View of His American Kin • James Fullarton Muirhead

... finally fixed his gaze on a perpendicular leaden column, adorned with strange symbols, through which (for it was a rainy night) raging torrents of water were distinctly heard flowing downwards to who knows what abysmal and ...
— HE • Andrew Lang

... or a woman's repentant blush. Instead of heartily disliking people for the spiteful things they sometimes did, he was apt to turn round and wonder if the fault had not been his; if he were not the abysmal beast. ...
— Winnie Childs - The Shop Girl • C. N. Williamson

... fast widening. From either side great fragments were breaking off and falling in with a roar of loose rocks crashing together, till far down the sound was dulled into a hollow boom. This ended in low guttural, which growled up from an abysmal depth. Mademoiselle Veret, or her dead body, lay now on the very edge of the seam, and I had to harden my heart before I could bring myself to venture close to it. But I had given my word, and there were no conditions in the ...
— The Crack of Doom • Robert Cromie

... for the child to have the presence of mind to thank her. But the felicity in which she had arrived was so proof against everything that Maisie felt more and more the depth of the purpose that must underlie it. She had a vague sense of its being abysmal, the spirit with which Mrs. Beale carried off the awkwardness, in the white and gold salon, of such a want of breath and of welcome. Mrs. Wix was more breathless than ever; the embarrassment of Mrs. Beale's isolation was as nothing to the embarrassment ...
— What Maisie Knew • Henry James

... all the cabs and the buses and the little black figures were being hurried by some power straight, fast, along Piccadilly to be pitched, at the end of it, pell-mell, helter-skelter into some dark abysmal pit, there ...
— Fortitude • Hugh Walpole

... of it—perhaps a little on the outer fringe, but still an ordinarily intelligent member—and I was not aware of the underground factors and forces which had caused this thunderbolt out of the blue, as it were. Needless to say, the country was in a state of more abysmal ignorance still, and it is questionable whether outside of Munster, owing to a scandalous Press boycott of Mr O'Brien's speeches for many years afterwards, the masses of the people ever had an understanding of the motives which impelled him "to ...
— Ireland Since Parnell • Daniel Desmond Sheehan

... He glares into her eyes, turned to stone. As for her, during his speech she has listened, paralyzed with horror, terror, her whole personality crushed, beaten in, collapsed, by the terrific impact of this unknown, abysmal brutality, naked and shameless. As she looks at his gorilla face, as his eyes bore into hers, she utters a low, choking cry and shrinks away from him, putting both hands up before her eyes to shut out the sight of his face, to protect ...
— The Hairy Ape • Eugene O'Neill

... of the tundra and they came to what Alan had named Ghost Kloof, a deep and jagged scar in the face of the earth, running down from the foothills of the mountains. It was a sinister thing, and in the depths lay abysmal darkness as they descended a rocky path worn smooth by reindeer and caribou hoofs. At the bottom, a hundred feet below the twilight of the plains, Alan dropped on his knees beside a little spring that he groped for among the stones, and as he drank he could hear the weird whispering and ...
— The Alaskan • James Oliver Curwood

... a roof of cloud With its weight of thunder bowed; Underneath, to left and right, Blankness and abysmal night. ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... necessary to his happiness she had become. The sense of power was undeniably pleasant; pleasanter still was the feeling that someone really needed her, that the happiness of the man at her side depended on her yes or no. She abandoned herself to the feeling, forgetting the abysmal interval of his caress, or at least saying to herself that in time she would forget it, that really there was nothing to make a fuss about in being kissed by anyone she liked ...
— The Glimpses of the Moon • Edith Wharton

... granite. The rock had that gray, elemental, eternal look which granite alone has. One seemed to be face to face with the gods of the fore-world. Like an atom, like a breath of to-day, we were suddenly confronted by abysmal geologic time,—the eternities past and the eternities to come. The enormous cleavage of the rocks, the appalling cracks and fissures, the rent boulders, the smitten granite floors, gave one a new sense of the power of heat and frost. In one place ...
— Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes and, Other Papers • John Burroughs

... considered acquaintanceship with him a thing worth claiming or mentioning; no one would have been vain of such an acquaintanceship; the humblest honest boot-black would not have valued the fact that he had met him or seen him at some time or other; he was sunk in abysmal obscurity, he was away beneath the notice of the bottom grades of officialdom. Three hours later he was the one subject of conversation in the world, the gilded generals and admirals and governors were discussing him, all the kings and queens and emperors had put aside their ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... weariness and powerlessness and oppression. The nineteenth century had been loud with blare and rumors and the vibration of colossal movements, and man had apparently traversed vast distances and explored titanic heights and abysmal depths. And yet, for all the glare, the earth was darker. The light was miasmic only. The life of man seemed as ever a brief and sad and simple thing, the stretching of impotent hands, unable to grasp and hold; the interlacing of shadows; the unclosing, a moment before nightfall, ...
— Musical Portraits - Interpretations of Twenty Modern Composers • Paul Rosenfeld

... about that Vassilissa Beggoe, half pouting defiance, half eager, began to pull herself out of the slough into which her race had slipped. There were difficulties perpetually arising—Ishmael had to be snubbed for sneering at her abysmal ignorance; and a course more adapted to her needs and temperament than the classic one the Parson was unfolding before the boy had to be arrived at; and her own recurring fits of suspicion and obstinacy had to be overcome. The intimacy ...
— Secret Bread • F. Tennyson Jesse

... the forces you are up against? Have you looked into the unfathomable heart of this trouble? Understood the tug of the towns, the call of money to money; grasped the destructive restlessness of modern life; the abysmal selfishness of people when you threaten their interests; the age-long apathy of those you want to help? Have you grasped ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... all comers, Lidgerwood acknowledged a growing liking for the chief clerk. Under the crabbed and gloomy crust of the man the superintendent fancied he could discover a certain savage loyalty. But under the loyalty there was a deeper depth—of misery, or tragedy, or both; and to this abysmal part of him there was no key ...
— The Taming of Red Butte Western • Francis Lynde

... legends, written in the skies!" mused De Galgenstein, "ye shine as ye did in the olden days! WE change, but YE speak ever the same language. Gazing in your abysmal ...
— Catherine: A Story • William Makepeace Thackeray

... million lights To cleave into nothing the endless firmament of my being. Take all; my soul's mistress! heart's queen, The flaming fancies of my dream-tortured night The intoxicating fruits of my day dream, The fiery lotus of my senses' delight That rises from the abyss of my life. The abysmal heaven of love and living Now bruised, burnt, torn and thrown To the winds of thy ravishing rejoicing Whose inarticulate words of delight and moan Make the ever-yielding music ...
— Sandhya - Songs of Twilight • Dhan Gopal Mukerji

... Socialists; in fact, Jimmie made a boast of scorning it—if people asked his opinion, he "gave it to 'em straight". So now he caused this white angel to understand that he regarded the effete aristocracies of the old world with abysmal contempt; he meant to put them out of business right off the bat. In vain the white angel pleaded that some of them might be useful people, or at any rate well-meaning: Jimmie pronounced them a bunch of parasites and grafters; the thing to do ...
— Jimmie Higgins • Upton Sinclair

... beneath misfortune's stroke are bent, when all your hopes seem riding round in hearses—a scowling brow won't help you worth a cent. Look pleasant, please, when days are dark and dismal and all the world seems in a hopeless fix; the clouds won't go because your grief's abysmal, the sun won't shine the sooner for your kicks. Look pleasant, please, when Grip—King of diseases, has filled your system with his microbes vile; I know it's hard, but still, between your sneezes, you may be able to produce a smile. Look pleasant, please, whatever ...
— Rippling Rhymes • Walt Mason

... the nations" to "the near approach of the millennium," and winding up with a quotation describing the latter "glorious state" out of the Religious Musings, inquired what might be the cost of the new publication. Deeply sensible of "the anti-climax, the abysmal bathos" of the answer, Coleridge replied, "Only fourpence, each number to be published every eighth day," upon which the tallow-chandler observed doubtfully that that came to "a deal of money at the end of the year." What determined him, however, to withhold ...
— English Men of Letters: Coleridge • H. D. Traill

... rapture]. My task is done! Now I have filled thy soul with song and sun. Forth! Now thou soarest on triumphant wings,— Forth! Now thy Svanhild is the swan that sings! [Takes off the ring and presses a kiss upon it. To the abysmal ooze of ocean bed Descend, my dream!—I ...
— Love's Comedy • Henrik Ibsen

... scholar, he would almost certainly have modelled his plays on Seneca or Aeschylus, and the results would have been devastating. Addison's Cato, Johnson's Irene, and the dramas of Racine and Corneille are among the abysmal dullnesses mankind owes to its excessive estimation of the past. Men have always been too ready to forget that we inherit our ancestors' bad points as well as their good ones. Ancestor-worship has deprived the Chinese ...
— G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study • Julius West

... now wholly James J. Ward, and he shares no part of his being with any vagabond anachronism from the younger world. And so wholly is James J. Ward modern, that he knows in all its bitter fullness the curse of civilized fear. He is now afraid of the dark, and night in the forest is to him a thing of abysmal terror. His city house is of the spick and span order, and he evinces a great interest in burglarproof devices. His home is a tangle of electric wires, and after bed-time a guest can scarcely breathe without setting off an alarm. Also, he had invented a ...
— The Night-Born • Jack London

... of being? It can be so only when we view Nothing on the positive side as identical with All, make annihilating deprivation equivalent to universal bestowment, regard negation as affirmation, and, in the last synthesis of contradictions, see the abysmal Vacuum as a Plenum of fruition. As Oken says, "The ideal zero is absolute unity; not a singularity, as the number one, but an indivisibility, a numberlessness, a homogeneity, a translucency, a pure identity. It is neither great nor small, quiescent ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... for it is there that Jesus must pass with all His gifts. Here Jesus comes, and sees the man, and tells Him in the light of faith that He is, according to His Godhead, immeasurable and incomprehensible, inaccessible and abysmal, and that He surpasses all created light and all finite comprehension. This is the highest knowledge acquired in the active life, to recognise thus, in the light of faith, that God is inconceivable and unknowable. In this light Christ saith to the desire of a man: "Come down ...
— Light, Life, and Love • W. R. Inge

... wouldn't do, Agnes. I must—ow, ugh, ow—go. Ugh, ow, ugh!" He abandons himself to a succession of abysmal yawns, in which the sequence of ...
— Evening Dress - Farce • W. D. Howells

... quest, even as she had wondered at her absence of fear, believing as she did, that Bethune was still in the hills. The feeling inspired by the outlaw had been a feeling of rage, rather than terror, and had rapidly crystallized in her outraged mind into an abysmal soul-hate. She knew that, should the man accost her again, she would kill him—and not for a single instant did she doubt her ability to kill him. Vaguely, as she stood looking out over the valley, she wondered if he were following ...
— The Gold Girl • James B. Hendryx

... star, far, far above his own muddy earth: a thing made of some rare celestial matter, differing altogether from anything to be found here below, fetched by the Creator when he meant to make her from some abysmal intermundane mine, where ocean foam and lunar ooze and sandal-wood and camphor lie jumbled up together with the essence of all curves and smiles and whispers and soft kisses and sweet glances and irresolution and long hair. And the image of the Queen ...
— The Substance of a Dream • F. W. Bain

... for this alone, the lunatic is outside public law. This is the abysmal difference between him and the criminal. The criminal admits the facts, and therefore permits us to appeal to the facts. We can so arrange the facts around him that he may really understand that agreement is in his ...
— Eugenics and Other Evils • G. K. Chesterton

... DeBar turned and staggered toward Joanne and Marie, John Aldous was sinking deeper and deeper into a black and abysmal night. ...
— The Hunted Woman • James Oliver Curwood

... be revolving around and around, and it seemed to bring her a giddiness and a faintness. The Adventurer was standing there before her, but she did not see him any more; she could only see, as from a brink upon which she tottered, a gulf, abysmal in its horror, ...
— The White Moll • Frank L. Packard

... of her; to her of him; and never pleasurably. This I am forced to say, or you cannot understand my story. Would to God I could tell another tale! Would to God I had such memories as other men have of a father's clasp, a mother's kiss—but no! my grief, already profound, might have become abysmal. Perhaps it is best as it is; only, I might have been a different child, and made for myself a different ...
— The Golden Slipper • Anna Katharine Green

... ability to take away from an adversary the legal weapons implicitly relied upon and to arm his client with them. No man understood better than he the abysmal distinction between law and justice; no man knew better than he how to compel—or to assist—courts to apply the law, so just in the general, to promoting injustice in the particular. And whenever he permitted ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... of one of her shoulders appeared as nothing in his eyes. He lost his heart to Josephine, and made passionate love to her. Distracted by such adoration, the beautiful cripple was now lifted to dizzy heights of joy and now plunged into abysmal depths of despair. She had deemed herself irreparably plain; in the eyes of a charming young man, she found herself beautiful. But, could such love endure through life? To be loved was delicious, but to be deceived after so surprising a release ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol. I • Various



Words linked to "Abysmal" :   unfathomable, deep, immensurable, unmeasured, abyssal, immeasurable



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