drea·​ry | \ ˈdrir-ē \
drearier; dreariest

Definition of dreary

1 : feeling, displaying, or reflecting listlessness or discouragement cheer a dreary mind— George Berkeley
2 : having nothing likely to provide cheer, comfort, or interest : gloomy, dismal a cold, dreary morning

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dreary

drearily \ ˈdrir-​ə-​lē \ adverb
dreariness \ ˈdrir-​ē-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dreary

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 dreary in a Sentence

It was a gray, dreary morning. The family struggled through dreary economic times.

Recent Examples on the Web

Not surprisingly, the day was dreary with a heavy overcast and was accompanied by brisk north winds and some passing sprinkles. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Can you pinpoint year of cold Fourth of July?," 4 July 2018 That path, which has been pretty dreary these last 23 months, is finally lightening up a little. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “It’s All Coming Home to Roost”," 16 Dec. 2018 Time Let's hope for clear skies and an end to the dreary weather next weekend: The Lyrid meteor shower will peak early Sunday morning. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "The Lyrid meteor shower is coming to a sky near you this weekend," 16 Apr. 2018 In sports, the atmosphere has been equally dreary with some programs folding and others fielding the bare minimum amount of athletes needed to compete. Andrew J. Campa, latimes.com, "Turning on the AC: Sadness won’t deter celebration for Bell-Jeff’s Martinez," 6 Apr. 2018 Wisconsin and Miami followed much of the same dreary path that started in the warmth of the Orange Bowl and ends with a frigid thud at Yankee Stadium. Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "Miami, Wisconsin set to battle cold in frigid Pinstripe Bowl," 26 Dec. 2018 After a cold, dreary Sunday, temperatures will be on the rise for Monday. Debora Almeida And Andrew Grant, BostonGlobe.com, "Non-profit aims to get girls in the game," 28 May 2018 Simpson attributed the dreary weather to the presence of a nor’easter moving through New England and onshore flow from unusually cold ocean water. BostonGlobe.com, "Yes, that was a nor’easter — in June," 4 June 2018 Despite the dreary weather, the Philadelphia Flower Show kicks off tomorrow. Ray Boyd, Philly.com, "Kenney calls Philly students 'underdogs,' Pa. leaders call for rep. accused of misconduct to resign | Morning Newsletter," 2 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dreary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dreary

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dreary

Middle English drery, from Old English drēorig sad, bloody, from drēor gore; akin to Old High German trūrēn to be sad, Goth driusan to fall

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dreary

Dictionary Entries near dreary








Statistics for dreary

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dreary

The first known use of dreary was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dreary



English Language Learners Definition of dreary

: causing unhappiness or sad feelings : not warm, cheerful, etc.


drea·​ry | \ ˈdrir-ē \
drearier; dreariest

Kids Definition of dreary

: dull and depressing a dreary, rainy Monday

Other Words from dreary

drearily \ ˈdrir-​ə-​lē \ adverb
dreariness \ ˈdrir-​ē-​nəs \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dreary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dreary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dreary

Spanish Central: Translation of dreary

Nglish: Translation of dreary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dreary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dreary

What made you want to look up dreary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!