drea·​ry | \ ˈdrir-ē How to pronounce dreary (audio) \
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

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Other Words from dreary

drearily \ ˈdrir-​ə-​lē How to pronounce drearily (audio) \ adverb
dreariness \ ˈdrir-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce dreariness (audio) \ 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 The weather outside in New England right now is dreary, rainy, and slushy. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "You can get Hunter rain boots for an insanely low price—for today only," 6 Feb. 2020 When Southern Californians awakened to a dreary, cold morning on Sunday, thick fog hovered over the Santa Monica Mountains. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "A Young Fan’s Selfie Captured Kobe Bryant a Day Before Fatal Crash," 28 Jan. 2020 The front will sweep out the dreary, rainy weather of the past week and set the stage for drier and sunnier conditions through the first part of next week. Leigh Morgan, al, "Your break from January is almost over," 18 Jan. 2020 Few, however, have gone as dark or dreary as a new three-part production from the BBC, which FX is presenting as one (very) long movie that should be of interest to serious devotees of the story, and few others. Brian Lowry, CNN, "FX's 'A Christmas Carol' brings a bleak lump of coal to the holidays," 19 Dec. 2019 The weather is dark and dreary, thick clouds with a misty rain. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Time is such a heartless thief," 8 Dec. 2019 Parliament will be dissolved next week and the parties will go into overdrive in their campaigns to stage an election in dark and dreary December, a time when Britons tend to prefer Christmas parties over political party hustings. BostonGlobe.com, "LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday won his bid for an early election, after the main opposition Labour Party agreed to back an early ballot, setting up a Dec. 12 election that will be dominated by Brexit, Brexit, and more Brexit.," 30 Oct. 2019 The opposition leader also noted that Britain hasn’t had a general election in dark and dreary December since 1923. Washington Post, "With Labour Party’s backing, Britain’s Boris Johnson looks set to get his snap election," 29 Oct. 2019 Corbyn also noted that Britain hasn’t had a general election in dark and dreary December since 1923. Karla Adam, The Denver Post, "Parliament rejects Boris Johnson’s call for an early election on Dec. 12, but pre-Brexit vote likely," 28 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for dreary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dreary

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dreary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dreariness. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for dreary


How to pronounce dreary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dreary

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


drea·​ry | \ ˈdrir-ē How to pronounce dreary (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dreary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dreary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dreary

Spanish Central: Translation of dreary

Nglish: Translation of dreary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dreary for Arabic Speakers

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