Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.