cheer·​less ˈchir-ləs How to pronounce cheerless (audio)
: lacking qualities that cheer : bleak, joyless
a cheerless room
cheerlessly adverb
cheerlessness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for cheerless

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 cheerless in a Sentence

The room was surprisingly bare and cheerless. a dank and cheerless castle that was once the site of unspeakable horrors
Recent Examples on the Web Photo: Gregg Segal One day in 2003, Joseph Schulman faced a half-dozen or so military officers in a cheerless high-rise office outside the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. Ariel Bleicher, IEEE Spectrum, 20 Mar. 2013 That turned an entertaining exhibition into an awkward and cheerless faux-competitive affair. Globe Staff,, 19 July 2022 For all his gloom, Mann was not entirely cheerless. Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2021 Lawrence’s was among the last, with a green campus full of trees, but a gray, cheerless interior and food that, in his words, looked regurgitated. Sarah Enelow-Snyder, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2020 Bishop spent a cold childhood raised by cheerless Calvinist grandparents (her official guardian, Uncle Jack, was reputedly something of a bully), and quickly learned that intense emotional attachments led to distress. Scott Bradfield, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2019 Nothing like signifyin’ in the Henry Louis Gates Jr. sense, with its necessarily intelligent playfulness, but something essentially post-literate and cheerless. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 11 July 2019 But a future predicated on product development alone, with little to offer the human heart, is a cheerless future indeed. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2019 Just ahead awaits a peculiar Southern California landscape of palm trees and barbed wire, and then a cheerless, pitiless site: Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution. James Andrew Miller, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Feb. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cheerless.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1575, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cheerless was in 1575

Dictionary Entries Near cheerless

Cite this Entry

“Cheerless.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


cheer·​less ˈchi(ə)r-ləs How to pronounce cheerless (audio)
: offering no cheer : gloomy
cheerlessly adverb
cheerlessness noun

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