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

For folks along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast, a damp and dreary Memorial Day weekend is forecast, thanks to a slow-moving weather system that could become a tropical depression or storm. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Tropical storm could drench Gulf Coast over Memorial Day weekend," 23 May 2018 March came in like a lion and remained disagreeable until its damp and dreary departure, followed by April, which until just a few days ago, seemed bent on a reprise. Rich Heileman, cleveland.com, "'Beautification & Pride' welcomes spring to Brook Park: Around The Town," 27 Apr. 2018 Let’s face it: April baseball in the Northeast is almost always bound to be damp and dreary even if the team is playing well, which the Phillies were not on their 1-4 road trip. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Happy Home Opener: How will you greet Gabe Kapler? | Extra Innings," 5 Apr. 2018 Translate that charm to the everyday by using portable lamps to illuminate any remaining dark or dreary areas in your house. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "Design for the New Year," 5 Jan. 2010 Kate's character traded in dreary Seattle, and an overwhelming drama from a love triangle, for sunny Los Angeles to star on Private Practice—a Grey's spin-off that was created by show runner Shonda Rhimes and ran from 2007 to 2013 on ABC. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Patrick Dempsey Left The Cutest Comment on Kate Walsh's Instagram and 'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Are Freaking Out," 29 Jan. 2019 Bring it on For those of us who remember those dreary draft nights of the past, us too, Jacob. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "No sarcastic laughter on Warriors’ draft night now," 22 June 2018 However, the month's last six days turned dreary, averaging just 32 percent of possible sunshine including sunless days on March 27 and 29. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: How sunny was March this year compared with other years?," 2 Apr. 2018 Question: As winter continues to inhabit January, how about some suggestions for plants in our gardens that will address this dreary time of year? Bob Gathany, AL.com, "2018 Huntsville Mardi Gras Parade has been canceled," 8 Feb. 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

11 Mar 2019

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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 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

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 corrupt or become corrupted

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