\ 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

At 1-3 after Week 4, the season still looked bleak for the Patriots, but Brady and the team rolled out 10 wins in their final 12 games, winning the AFC East and heading to the playoffs. Globe Staff,, "Boston and St. Louis have a long history in championship play," 27 May 2019 His arrest is the latest twist in a nine-year saga that began when WikiLeaks released a huge trove of classified documents that presented a bleak view of the Afghanistan war. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "WikiLeaks Founder Arrested, Charged With Computer-Hacking Conspiracy," 11 Apr. 2019 Before Mr Trump entered politics in 2015, Republicans took a bleaker view of Russia than Democrats. The Economist, "The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki," 5 July 2018 According to sources in the room, Cook gave the Republican staffers a bleak view of the midterms. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump's trade war makes enemies out of longtime U.S. allies," 4 June 2018 The film seemed to fly a bit under the radar upon its initial release, perhaps because of its unrelenting nature and bleak view of the future. Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "The 7 Best Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Right Now, From Rogue One to The Matrix," 22 May 2018 Electric vehicle fervor is inspiring bleak gasoline views, with the Boston Consulting Group forecasting a drop of as much as 35 percent in U.S. demand for the fuel by 2035 compared with 2015. Angelina Rascouet, Houston Chronicle, "Oil nears three-year week high on inventory expectations," 27 Feb. 2018 Those worries eased off after the finance ministry clarified that its debts would be paid on time, but Lebanon’s financial outlook still looks bleak. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "Qatar Muscles in on Saudi Arabia With Lebanon Investment," 21 Jan. 2019 Grief continues to dominate life and the future seems bleak and empty. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "How To Deal With the Death Of a Parent," 14 Mar. 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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Statistics for bleak

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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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 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

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 take the place or position of

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