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abyssal

[uh-bis-uh l] /əˈbɪs əl/
adjective
1.
of or like an abyss; immeasurable; unfathomable.
2.
of or pertaining to the biogeographic zone of the ocean bottom between the bathyal and hadal zones: from depths of approximately 13,000 to 21,000 feet (4000 to 6500 meters).
Origin
1685-1695
1685-95; < Medieval Latin abyssālis. See abyss, -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for abyssal
  • From the abyssal depths to the tropical shallows, the ocean teems with myriad creatures.
  • The abyssal plains of the world ocean floors are not nearly as deep as that.
  • For instance, abyssal grenadier fish were confined to valleys on either side of the ridge.
  • There is a census of coastal waters and a census of the abyssal plains, a census of coral reefs and a census of seamounts.
  • In the abyssal plains, moreover, the map reveals its second weakness: there it tends to show too much topography.
  • Submersibles alone enable us to explore the abyssal depths.
  • The abyssal depths had always been regarded as a desert, incapable of supporting life.
  • Some mineral resources, such as manganese nodules, occur primarily on the deep ocean areas known as abyssal plains.
British Dictionary definitions for abyssal

abyssal

/əˈbɪsəl/
adjective
1.
of or belonging to the ocean depths, esp below 2000 metres (6500 feet): abyssal zone
2.
(geology) another word for plutonic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abyssal
adj.

1690s, used especially of the zone of ocean water below 300 fathoms, from abyss + -al (1). Though the 19th century, abysmal was more common in oceanography.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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abyssal in Science
abyssal
  (ə-bĭs'əl)   
  1. Relating to the greatest depths of the oceans and to the organisms that live there. The abyssal zone encompasses all depths below 4,000 m (13,120 ft).

  2. Relating to the region of the ocean bottom between the bathyal and hadal zones, from depths of approximately 2,000 to 6,000 m (6,560 to 19,680 ft). The abyssal zone includes nearly two-thirds of the Earth's surface.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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