Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: GEOGRAPHY

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Late Latin
Origin: abyssus, from Greek, from abyssos 'bottomless', from a- 'without' + byssos 'depth'

abyss

noun
     
a‧byss [countable]
1 a very dangerous or frightening situation
abyss of
The country might plunge into the abyss of economic ruin.
At that time Bosnia was standing on the edge of an abyss.
2SG a deep empty hole in the ground
3 a very big difference that separates two people or groups:
the gaping abyss between these grand buildings and my own miserable home
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