What is the difference between deep (as a noun) and depths? Since deep is primarily an adjective, when one would use it rather than depths?

From what I see the deep (always with the and in singular) refers specifically to the oceanic depths. (Though, I am not sure if it is the only meaning/difference.)

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    "The deep" is sometimes used as an idiom (without specifying "the deep what") to refer to the deepest part of the ocean (real or metaphoric). In this sense it is roughly interchangeable with "the depths of the ocean" (though "the deep" is much more poetic).
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


The deep is a metaphoric name for the ocean. Depths are very low places in general. You may sink to the depths of the ocean, but also the depths of the earth and the depths of despair.

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