\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

The other declarations are equally bleak, ranging from a mother who hasn’t seen her 7-year-old daughter since they were separated in May to a man who was held in a small room with over 60 men for eight days. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "‘It Seems They Did Not Bathe Him’: Immigrant Mother Shares Shocking Details of Child’s Detention," 6 July 2018 In this show, which is so often bleak and difficult, Nick’s a part of the narrative that is hopefully cathartic. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Max Minghella Talks Playing the Only Good Man in Gilead on The Handmaid's Tale," 5 July 2018 Anthony Sindone, an economics professor at Purdue University Northwest, gave a bleak outlook for the region, and country in general, if a trade war continues and grows. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "As tariffs begin, Northwest Indiana auto workers and farmers share concerns," 10 July 2018 Other than Michael Brantley, the offensive production there has been bleak: Only the Royals, Orioles, Marlins, White Sox and Rays have a worse outfield OPS., "The American League Controls the Top and Bottom Tiers of Our Power Rankings," 10 July 2018 At what point does there need to be some accountability for the Royals historically poor season and rather bleak outlook moving forward? Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Herrera's gone, what's next for Royals and worrisome about Chiefs," 19 June 2018 Lately the headlines in personal finance have been pretty bleak — the average 2017 graduate has nearly $40,000 in student loans, millennial homeownership is down, and 39 percent of Americans have no savings at all. Jean Chatzky /, NBC News, "Smart financial planning strategies to borrow from women and millennials," 13 June 2018 Ford is already forecasting a bleak outlook as profit is expected to fall for a third year in a row. Aisha Al-muslim, WSJ, "Ford Suspends F-150 Production on Parts Shortage," 9 May 2018 Things looked bleak when the Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich this offseason. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "The Marlins may have already found a future starting outfielder in last year's draft," 9 July 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

19 Oct 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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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 reject or criticize sharply

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