Definition of dismal adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    dismal

     adjective
    adjective
    BrE BrE//ˈdɪzməl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdɪzməl//
     
     
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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 skilful 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.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: from earlier dismal (noun), denoting the two days in each month which in medieval times were believed to be unlucky, from Anglo-Norman French dis mal, from medieval Latin dies mali ‘evil days’.Extra examples Last year’s results were fairly dismal. He watched the dismal faces of the players as they trudged back to the dressing room. The place mirrored his own dismal mood. Their recent attempt to increase sales has been a dismal failure.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: dismal