\ 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 As bleak as things may seem, the Dodgers, at 17-15, enter Friday 1½ games from the best record in the National League. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers’ offensive struggles start with Mookie Betts and Corey Seager," 7 May 2021 Continuing in the same vein as 2017’s Pussycat — which crackled with rage directed at then-president Donald Trump — Blood oozes with blatant and bleak imagery that lands like a deliciously inappropriate joke. Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, "Bandcamp Friday, May 2021 Edition: Support Artists by Buying This Music," 7 May 2021 Breaking fashion conventions seems to be good for business: On social media, fashion lovers heralded it for some of the season’s best pieces, a sign that new ideas can flourish in a bleak time. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Louis Vuitton’s Stephen Sprouse Collaboration Turns 20—And Is Still One of the Best Logo Hacks Around," 6 May 2021 When Evan Darzi graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, the scientific job market in Phoenix was, in his estimation, bleak. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "ASU, Phoenix hope to lure researchers, entrepreneurs with new downtown innovation center," 5 May 2021 Its message to investors was simple but bleak: The best three months of this year had already come and gone, only a fallow period remained for the rest of the 2021. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Sit tight, chip shortage likely to last to 2023, says top supplier to auto industry," 4 May 2021 In short, for anyone who owned, developed, invested in or financed commercial real estate, the post-pandemic future was looking very bleak. Washington Post, "Five (somewhat) upbeat predictions for 2021," 31 Dec. 2020 Things are looking bleak for the Trump legal effort to stop former Vice President Joe Biden from becoming the next president. James Freeman, WSJ, "The Transition Begins," 24 Nov. 2020 And now, with temperatures cooling and indoor dining no longer an option, things are looking especially bleak. San Diego Union-Tribune, "COVID-19 shutdowns spark defiance and grim compliance among San Diego businesses," 14 Nov. 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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bleak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 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

Comments on bleak

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