\ ˈblēk How to pronounce bleak (audio) \
bleaker; bleakest

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

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 Instead of being bleak, things are just pretty bad out there for Democrats — and even that subtle shift may be a big deal. James Pindell,, 27 July 2022 The alternatives are bleak, as well: a spiral of negative associations and consequences. Jagmeet Lamba, Forbes, 25 July 2022 But the long-term outlook for the Colorado is bleak, as climate change continues to affect runoff into the river and reduces the likelihood of a series of wet years that could end the drought. New York Times, 21 July 2022 The mood heading into Texas’ 2021 regular-season finale against Kansas State was bleak. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 12 July 2022 In May 2020, during COVID-19 lockdowns, the business outlook was bleak and, according to a survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, half of restaurants and hotels expected to go out of business within months. Rob Chilton, Time, 23 June 2022 Which means the outlook for a fun summer could be bleak as Americans tighten up their budgets and hunker down to compensate for the high cost of gas and food. James Brown, USA TODAY, 5 June 2022 The only slight misstep occurs at the conclusion, which is presented as a happy one but manages to be bleak instead. Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2022 In other spots on the globe, however, the outlook remains bleak. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near bleak

bleach-out process



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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bleak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bleak


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on bleak

Nglish: Translation of bleak for Spanish Speakers

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


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