1650s, formed in Eng. from obsolete abysm
"bottomless gulf, greatest depths" (c.1300), from O.Fr. abisme
), from V.L. *abyssimus
(source of Sp., Port. abismo
), superl. of L. abyssus
or on analogy of Gk.-derived words in
; see abyss
. Weakened sense of "extremely bad" is first recorded 1904.