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dis·mal / ˈdizməl/ • adj. depressing; dreary: the dismal weather made the late afternoon seem like evening. ∎  (of a person or a mood) gloomy: his dismal mood was not dispelled by finding the house empty. ∎ inf. pitifully or disgracefully bad: he shuddered as he watched his team's dismal performance. DERIVATIVES: dis·mal·ly adv. dis·mal·ness n. ORIGIN: late Middle English: from earlier dismal (noun), denoting the two days in each month that in medieval times were believed to be unlucky, from Anglo-Norman French dis mal, from medieval Latin dies mali ‘evil days.’

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dismal •sewellel •camel, enamel, entrammel, mammal, trammel •miasmal, phantasmal •Carmel •abysmal, baptismal, catechismal, dismal, paroxysmal •animal • minimal • lachrymal •maximal •decimal, infinitesimal •septimal • optimal • primal • Rommel •abnormal, conformal, formal, normal, paranormal, subnormal •chromosomal • Kümmel •Brummell, pommel, pummel •epidermal, geothermal, isothermal, pachydermal, taxidermal, thermal

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dismal †sb. evil days, orig the unpropitious days, two in each month, of the medieval calendar XIII; adj. †(of days) unlucky XIV; †(of other things) disastrous; causing dismay or gloom; depressingly dreary XVI. — AN. dis mal :- medL. diēs malī evil days. The (orig. superfluous) addition of day to dismal led to the apprehension of dismal as an adj.

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