American English

Definition of dismal adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1causing or showing sadness synonym gloomy, miserable dismal conditions/surroundings/weather Christmas will be dismal without the children.
  2. 2(informal) not skillful or successful; of very low quality The singer gave a dismal performance of some old songs. Their recent attempt to increase sales has been a dismal failure.
adverb I tried not to laugh but failed dismally (= was completely unsuccessful).
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: dismal