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I've struggled with this word for about 2 years (no joke). Every time I see it, I look it up, kind of understand what it means in that context, and then gleefully forget.

Please help me understand the origin and meaning.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Probably the best way to describe dismal is as the opposite of cheerful. A grey rainy day is dismal, whereas a bright sunny day is cheerful.

It can also mean poor quality: 'Football Team United's performance was dismal!'

It comes from the Latin dies mali 'evil days', via French.

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