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dismal

[diz-muh l] /ˈdɪz məl/
adjective
1.
causing gloom or dejection; gloomy; dreary; cheerless; melancholy:
dismal weather.
2.
characterized by ineptness or lack of skill, competence, effectiveness, imagination, or interest; pitiful:
Our team played a dismal game.
3.
Obsolete.
  1. disastrous; calamitous.
  2. unlucky; sinister.
noun
4.
Southern U.S. a tract of swampy land, usually along the coast.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English dismale unlucky time, dismol day one of two days in each month considered unlucky (hence later taken as adj.) < Anglo-French dis mal < Medieval Latin diēs malī literally, evil days
Related forms
dismally, adverb
dismalness, dismality, noun
Synonyms
2. hopeless, abysmal, dreadful.
Antonyms
1. cheerful; gay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for dismal
  • But for her every dismal observation, a jaunty little lamb counters with a sunny-side-up perspective.
  • This is why economics gets known as the dismal science.
  • The state of science education in some countries is truly dismal.
  • Automakers start 2009 with a dismal month.
  • Minter is looking at a housing collapse to spark a deflationary spiral — a dismal period of falling prices.
  • Satire may have a pretty dismal record at the box office, but at least one studio won't be dissuaded.
  • Hollywood finishes dismal box-office year.
  • In an overcrowded, dismal world, Trella gets involved with a revolutionary prophet.
  • Who dare call it the dismal science? Studying economics sounds boring to some.
  • It's now bumped up to a still-dismal 29%.
British Dictionary definitions for dismal

dismal

/ˈdɪzməl/
adjective
1.
causing gloom or depression
2.
causing dismay or terror
3.
of poor quality or a low standard; feeble
Derived Forms
dismally, adverb
dismalness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from dismal (noun) list of 24 unlucky days in the year, from Medieval Latin diēs malī bad days, from Latin diēs day + malus bad
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 dismal
dismal
c.1400, from Anglo-Fr. dismal, from O.Fr. (li) dis mals "(the) bad days," from M.L. dies mali "evil or unlucky days" (also called dies Ægyptiaci), from L. dies "days" (see diurnal) + mali, pl. of malus "bad" (see mal-). Through the Middle Ages, calendars marked two days of each month as unlucky, supposedly based on the ancient calculations of Egyptian astrologers. Modern sense of "gloomy, dreary" first recorded in English 1590s, in reference to sounds. Related: Dismally.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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