\ˈblēk \

Definition of bleak 

1 : exposed and barren and often windswept a bleak landscape bleak soils

2 : cold, raw a bleak November evening

3a : lacking in warmth, life, or kindliness : grim a bleak prison documentary

b : not hopeful or encouraging : depressing a bleak prognosis a bleak outlook the future looks bleak

c : severely simple or austere a bleak hotel room

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Other Words from bleak

bleakly adverb
bleakness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bleak

dismal, dreary, bleak, gloomy, cheerless, desolate mean devoid of cheer or comfort. dismal indicates extreme and utterly depressing gloominess. dismal weather dreary, often interchangeable with dismal, emphasizes discouragement resulting from sustained dullness or futility. a dreary job bleak suggests chill, dull, and barren characteristics that utterly dishearten. the bleak years of the depression gloomy often suggests lack of hope or promise. gloomy war news cheerless stresses absence of anything cheering. a drab and cheerless office desolate adds an element of utter remoteness or lack of human contact to any already disheartening aspect. a desolate outpost

Examples of bleak in a Sentence

a bleak outlook for the team for the rest of the season it was a dark and bleak wintry day

Recent Examples on the Web

Facing charges thanks to his involvement in the death of Jason Blossom, F.P. starts season two in jail with a pretty bleak future. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 The internet can be a bleak and hopeless place sometimes (OK, OK, most of the time), but every once in a while, something truly delightful makes its way around social media — like an 8-year-old girl pulling an ancient sword from a lake. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "8-Year-Old Girl Pulls Ancient Sword From a Lake in Sweden," 6 Oct. 2018 Between the Archie's prison fight club, Jughead's potentially poison-laced Gryfons & Gargoyles initiation, and all of the Farm madness (which may or may not be connected to G+G??), things were pretty bleak in Riverdale on Wednesday. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Including Jughead's dark suit, which may be hiding a sinister message.," 26 Oct. 2018 The prognosis for those suffering from LeBronsomnia is bleak. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "LeBron James Has Turned the NBA Into the ZZZ," 21 Oct. 2018 No matter what airline executives say, things in economy class are pretty bleak—the shrinking seats and bathrooms, the service (ugh, the service). Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta Is Testing Out 3-Course Meals in Economy," 1 Aug. 2018 There were layoffs and questions about its bleak finances. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Ten years after fire, OLLU thriving," 4 May 2018 The city council has spent $1.5 million on shoring up the American Jazz Museum's bleak finances in the current fiscal year. Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "Head of American Jazz Museum says she's 'not going to be the leader moving forward'," 25 Apr. 2018 The numbers were even bleaker in the key 18 to 49-years old demographic, in which viewership fell 11% to a 5.0 rating, a six-year low. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Even Oprah Couldn't Lift Ratings For This Year's Golden Globes," 8 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bleak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bleak

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bleak

Middle English bleke pale; probably akin to Old English blāc

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Statistics for bleak

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bleak

The first known use of bleak was in 1574

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More Definitions for bleak



English Language Learners Definition of bleak

: not warm, friendly, cheerful, etc.

: not hopeful or encouraging


\ˈblēk \
bleaker; bleakest

Kids Definition of bleak

1 : open to wind or weather a bleak coast

2 : being cold and raw or cheerless a bleak wind a bleak landscape

3 : not hopeful or encouraging The future looks bleak.

Other Words from bleak

bleakly adverb stared bleakly
bleakness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on bleak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bleak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bleak

Spanish Central: Translation of bleak

Nglish: Translation of bleak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bleak for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bleak

Comments on bleak

What made you want to look up bleak? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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