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

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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

Post time for the Derby is approximately 6:50 p.m. As the dreary weather set in, My Boy Jack leaped from a 30-1 choice in the morning line to a 5-1 second choice for bettors. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "With rain in Kentucky and more in forecast, Derby bettors look for mudders," 5 May 2018 There are also subtle shapes adorning each square, creating a playful style that’s usually not seen in the dreary black-and-gray world of server racks. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Graphcore’s new AI chips are the best-looking server processors you’ll never see," 26 Nov. 2018 The overall vibe of Aquaman seems to indicate that DC is aiming for a more lighthearted tone compared to its dreary and dark predecessors. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "New extended Aquaman trailer shows off over five minutes of underwater action," 5 Oct. 2018 People withstand months of rain and dreary overcast for a few months of pristine 75-degrees-and-sunny. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Smoky Seattle summers: Expect more of them, scientists say," 14 Aug. 2018 After a long and wet week of dreary skies, the weather cleared up this past weekend for Houston to enjoy the heat and party with one another. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Pride-ful: Here's how Houston partied this weekend," 25 June 2018 Pence arrived on Air Force Two at Boston Logan International Airport under dreary skies and nearly freezing temperatures. James Pindell, BostonGlobe.com, "Pence arrives in Boston for GOP fund-raiser," 10 Apr. 2018 And while that loyalty eventually was rewarded with a win, for most of the chilly afternoon, LAFC's performance mirrored the dreary, gray Seattle skies. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "LAFC thrill new fans by winning their inaugural game against Seattle Sounders," 5 Mar. 2018 Buy Photo Despite dreary and sometimes drippy skies, Philadelphia celebrated the 43rd annual Odunde Festival Sunday the way in which its late founder would have wanted: with unbridled enthusiasm for African culture. Diane Mastrull, Philly.com, "Odunde Festival carries on, brimming with African pride as its founder would have wanted," 10 June 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.

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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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Statistics for dreary

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for dreary

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

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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

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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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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