\ 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 But if this time frame proves optimistic and factory workers remain home for longer, the picture suddenly gets bleaker. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "As Coronavirus Spreads, China Chokes on Oil," 5 Feb. 2020 The outlook for China’s onshore markets was already bleak when investors went on holiday last month. Sofia Horta E Costa And Ken Wang, Time, "Chinese Stocks Plunge 9% Amid Coronavirus Outbreak as Markets Reopen After Holiday," 3 Feb. 2020 The outlook for China’s onshore markets was already bleak when investors went on holiday last month. Fortune, "Chinese markets plummet amid coronavirus spread in first trading since New Year break," 3 Feb. 2020 The team’s long-term outlook at the position remains bleak. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Nine months after C.J. Mosley left in free agency, Ravens relying on mix of youth and experience at linebacker," 11 Dec. 2019 But for all the chaperoning and assurances from Gill, especially about raising funds, the outlook is getting bleaker. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Yes Bank Needs an Arranged Match, Or It’s No Bank," 11 Dec. 2019 The stats are even bleaker for young adults who are black, like KiKi: One in four is disconnected. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's $15 billion problem: 17,000 young people are out of school and out of work," 11 Dec. 2019 The picture looks even bleaker for LGBTQ business travelers. Allison Hope, Quartz at Work, "Can we talk about the fact that business travel still feels unsafe for 95% of LGBTQ people?," 3 Dec. 2019 Things should be significantly bleaker without either Durant or Thompson available to fill the scoring and offense initiation voids. Ben Golliver, The Denver Post, "Analysis: Steph Curry breaks hand, sending Warriors spiraling into an identity crisis," 31 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for bleak

Time Traveler

The first known use of bleak was in 1574

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Statistics for bleak

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bleak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bleak


How to pronounce bleak (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on bleak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bleak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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