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1. Causing gloom or depression; dreary: dismal weather; took a dismal view of the economy.
2. Characterized by ineptitude, dullness, or a lack of merit: a dismal book; a dismal performance on the cello.
3. Obsolete Dreadful; disastrous.
Chiefly South Atlantic US See pocosin.

[Middle English, unlucky days, unlucky, from Anglo-Norman, unlucky days, from Medieval Latin diēs malī : Latin diēs, pl. of diēs, day; see dyeu- in Indo-European roots + Latin malī, pl. of malus, evil; see mel- in Indo-European roots.]

dis′mal·ly adv.
dis′mal·ness n.
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References in classic literature ?
Celia thought with some dismalness of the time she should have to spend as bridesmaid at Lowick, while the curate had probably no pretty little children whom she could like, irrespective of principle.
There is one pleasure, I know, Maggie, that your deepest dismalness will never resist," said Lucy, beginning to speak as soon as she entered the room.
All three messages are discharged in a rapid-fire aesthetic critique of Britain's places, laced with racy contempt for their dismalness.