\ ˈblēk How to pronounce bleak (audio) \

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 The prospects for the hospitality sector have been bleak as the crisis has surged and lengthened. Ian Mcnulty,, "Despite industry woes, new restaurants keep opening in New Orleans with more on the way," 2 Feb. 2021 This winter looks relatively bleak, with stay-at-home advisories currently in place in Cuyahoga County and elsewhere, and travel restrictions in force throughout the United States. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Passenger traffic at Cleveland Hopkins airport drops 59% in 2020," 21 Jan. 2021 But while the outlook for the winter is bleak, the US labor market should get much stronger in the second half of 2021, mostly because of the impact of the vaccination campaign. Gad Levanon For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Prepare for a jobs boom in 2021," 14 Jan. 2021 His home life is bleak, shadowed by his mother’s chronic depression and his father’s emotional unavailability. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "The copyright to 'The Great Gatsby’ is up, and prequel 'Nick' is here to take advantage," 6 Jan. 2021 California’s jobless rate drops, but outlook is bleak: While the state’s unemployment rate fell from 9% in October to 8.2% in November, the economy remains crippled by the pandemic. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 17-23," 1 Jan. 2021 Now, that could be the rosiest forecast this side of Pasadena, especially when things have been so bleak for the Rams lately. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Rick Neuheisel, who coached John Wolford, swears backup QB will be hero for Rams," 28 Dec. 2020 The job market for pharmacists has been bleak for years, with the number of pharmacy-school graduates far outnumbering jobs. Jaewon Kang, WSJ, "Hiring Frenzy for Pharmacists as Covid-19 Vaccines Roll Out," 22 Dec. 2020 In many cases, situations are bleak because of unemployment and the effects of COVID-19. al, "Central Alabama Toys for Tots hands out toys to 2,000 families," 16 Dec. 2020

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

15 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bleak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for bleak



English Language Learners Definition of bleak

: not warm, friendly, cheerful, etc.
: not hopeful or encouraging


\ ˈblēk How to pronounce bleak (audio) \
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

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Comments on bleak

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