Could somebody tell me, what is the positive of the word "Abyss" ? As I know, abyss means an infinite depth or abode of evils, Hell. So isn't there any word which will mean the same as infinite depth or void but without pointing towards the negativity of Hell ?

The context in which I want to use this word is related to human emotion. I want to personify this word. I want a word with a meaning parallel to that of abyss but it should not have a negative connotation. You can say that I want to show the void or depth of a person but in one word to do all this.

  • 2
    Based on your comments to JLG, perhaps you need to clarify this question. "Abyss" literally means "a very deep chasm or void". If you're talking about someone's emotions, how could any word with a similar meaning not be negative? I have trouble imagining "far down; big, dark and empty" as something cheerful. Do you want to say that feelings "go far" without implying that they are negative? Perhaps what you are looking for is a word more like "intense".
    – Jay
    Jun 26, 2012 at 14:27
  • In most cases, the antonym of "abyss" would be "peak." I'm not sure that there is a word that has the same meaning as "abyss" (chasm, gorge, trench, etc.) that won't be taken as a negative by most listeners. If your willing to go wide rather than deep, you could use "expanse," or some other suitable synonym.
    – oosterwal
    Jun 27, 2012 at 2:32
  • My choice as an upbeat characterization would be "the great unknown," which at least sounds like something you might explore as a source of adventure rather than terror.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 7, 2015 at 1:11
  • Great are the depths of God's wisdom; great are the heights of his mercy.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 12, 2017 at 1:02
  • As you didn't notice, "abyss" means an infinite depth…" the idea of evil is dragged in from specific uses such as "Satan's dark abyss…" meaning your "regions of hell conceived of as a bottomless pit." That's a usage, not the meaning, as for instance explained at google.com/… Jun 28, 2020 at 21:51

8 Answers 8


Yes: abyss, as in "abyssal depths" of the ocean. That's neutral and simply means "very very deep".

The infinite negativity of Hell is the Abyss with a capital A and (generally) the definite article.

  • Thanks for the answer but isn't there any other word because using "abyss" will be very confusing for others. Some of people will assume it to be the negative word.
    – Abhineet
    Jun 26, 2012 at 12:17
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    From abyss, via abysm, we get abysmal, which is about as negative a word as one can imagine. Jun 26, 2012 at 12:24
  • @Brian Hooper: OED gives two definitions for abysmal - 1: Of, pertaining to, or resembling an abyss; fathomless; deep-sunken. lit. and fig. 2: In weakened sense: of an exceptionally poor standard or quality; extremely bad. The first sense is neutral. Jun 26, 2012 at 12:42
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    @FumbleFingers, that's true, but only in the driest technical writing would you expect the word to be devoid of the baggage it carries from the second meaning. Jun 26, 2012 at 13:02
  • Hmm, I wonder how many people immediately think of Hell when they hear the word "abyss". My mental picture is of the bottom of the ocean or a very deep cave. And I'm an extreme Fundamentalist, if anyone thought of a theological connotation you'd think it would be me. :-)
    – Jay
    Jun 26, 2012 at 14:29

A comment from OP suggests he's looking for a neutral/positive word to describe metaphoric "depth" as applied to a person, in which context I suggest the person is perhaps...

profound - having intellectual depth and insight; characterized by intensity of feeling or quality.

The opposite is often expressed as shallow - lacking depth of intellect, emotion, or knowledge.

It's a little archaic/formal, but you can also say that someone "lacks bottom" (meaning they lack roots, grounding, or principles, rather than lacking gravitas/profundity). I've rarely if ever seen the non-negated form (it's invariably he lacks bottom, not he has bottom).

  • And if you're in the register OP seems to be in, profundity may work. Nov 12, 2017 at 23:30

In my opinion the word zenith may well explain the opposite of abyss. As abyss means very deep shasm, metaphorically related to very depressing emotions, the word Zenith is the highest point on the celestial sphere infinitely high as the climax but again metaphorically represent very high flying and positive state of mind. in Urdu Zeenet means ultimate beauty.


Could be 'vortex', if you mean some emptiness that causes a 'vertigo' sensation (being attracted to the void, or feeling like you could be falling). You could use 'precipice' as well. It would be nice to have some more clues about what is the context, so that it would be possible to make a more precise comment/suggestion on this.


I think infinite depth is pretty neutral.

Depending on your context, there are some geographic terms that have similar meanings to abyss (maybe without the "depth" aspect, though): ravine, gorge, canyon.

  • The context in which I want to use this word is related to human emotion. I want to personify this word.
    – Abhineet
    Jun 26, 2012 at 12:28
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    @Abhineet, normally when it's used in the sense of human emotion it means "very depressed". Can you explain more about the sense in which you're using it positively?
    – Lunivore
    Jun 26, 2012 at 12:30
  • That's what I am trying to ask. I want a word with parallel meaning of abyss but should not mean negative. You can say that I want to show the void or depth of a person but in one word to do all this.
    – Abhineet
    Jun 26, 2012 at 13:18
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    I think you can talk about the depth of a person's emotion, or even the breadth of his or her emotion. But the void of emotion would be something else altogether. Maybe the phrase "emotional profundity" (mentioned in the entry for "depth" I linked to) would work for your purposes.
    – JLG
    Jun 26, 2012 at 14:13
  • I like it!!!! :-)
    – Abhineet
    Jun 27, 2012 at 7:21

In Milton I believe the Abyss is anterior to Hell,

Into this wild Abyss/ The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave--

Perhaps the most positive 20th century association with an abyss is Georg Lukacs' Grand Hotel Abyss - pleasantly perched alongside "the womb of Nature," a little like the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Oregon, but with a picture of Schopenhauer instead of Rudolf Valentino in the lobby:

A considerable part of the leading German intelligentsia, including Adorno, have taken up residence in the ‘Grand Hotel Abyss’ which I described in connection with my critique of Schopenhauer as ‘a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.’


How about fathomless and unfathomable? Eg: The beauty of God's creation is indeed unfathomable; meaning it's too profound to fully understand it for mankind.

  • +1 :-D Although I can't use it as I intended to but still the words explain themselves amazingly. it would be better if you can write some example too with your answer.
    – Abhineet
    Mar 28, 2014 at 7:03
  • Eg: The beauty of God's creation is indeed unfathomable; meaning it's too profound to fully understand it for mankind.
    – manu
    Mar 28, 2014 at 7:15
  • I meant, edit your answer and then provide the example. it would be good for other readers. :-)
    – Abhineet
    Mar 28, 2014 at 7:18

Found from a book by Daniel J. Siegel, there is a phrase called "the sea of potential". This covers the positive key words of "Profundity" and "Expanse" that one would find in a sentient mind that also connects with the depths of the ocean, and the expanse of the Multiverse (multiple universes). "Profound" suggests something discovered and brought to common knowledge, while the expanse of the universes are undiscovered and found to be the mysterious and great beyond of common thought processes.

The "Sea of Potential" is more of a verb phrase, given that potential energy turns to kinetic energy when acted upon by another force. We live in a constantly flowing, kinetic, wave-like ocean of happenings. To bring some peace into the ever constant change that occurs, we humans create patterns that keep us centered on our home base planet. In other words, we build relationships to guide us on the "sea of potential".

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    To condense, my choice of word would be, from the Hawai'ian word, Dakine. "Dakine" seems to include everything in existence,Search Results Featured snippet from the web Da kine /də ˈkaɪn/ is an expression in Hawaiian Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English), probably derived from "the kind", that usually functions grammatically as a placeholder name (compare to English "whatsit" and "whatchamacallit"), but can also take the role of a verb, adjective, or adverb. This also has the kine in kinetic energy that once was started as a sea of potential.
    – Jacob DLM
    Dec 24, 2019 at 23:22

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