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 dreary (audio) \ adverb
dreariness \ ˈdrir-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce dreary (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 However, homeowners and designers alike are beginning to see that the potential of this once-contentious color isn't so dreary after all. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Choose the Best Black Paint Colors for Bold, Beautiful Walls," 21 Apr. 2021 Mandoo are Korean dumplings, here stuffed with foie gras and kimchi, topped with a sheer sheet of wagyu and swimming in a beef broth known as gom-tang—a good dish, but the broth, by any name, was dreary, despite its three-day preparation time. John Mariani, Forbes, "New York’s Jungsik Re-Opens To Serve Highly Creative Korean Cuisine," 15 Apr. 2021 After a long, dreary winter overshadowed by the pandemic, the miracle of spring has arrived and homeowners are eagerly refreshing and embracing their outdoor living spaces. BostonGlobe.com, "It’s time to embrace your outdoor space," 10 Apr. 2021 This is a sensitive but dreary novel of valediction that pursues atonement without any apparent belief that such a thing is possible. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: ‘The Committed’ Review," 5 Mar. 2021 Here, the monotony of his everyday — the ding of his metro pass, a mouse click on a spreadsheet, his feet hitting the gravel for a daily run — serves as an unrelenting soundtrack for his anonymous routine as the dull head of a dreary nuclear family. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, "Review: In ‘Nobody,’ Bob Odenkirk transforms into an action star. It suits him," 25 Mar. 2021 The Office workplace comedies, with efforts wasted on wringing laughter out of dreary meetings and coffee runs. Emma Specter, Vogue, "‘Call My Agent!’ Is the Best Netflix Show You’re Probably Not Watching," 25 Jan. 2021 The whole experiment was a delightfully artificial way to add some excitement to an otherwise dreary winter. Melissa Kirsch, New York Times, "Breaking the Monotony of Winter," 22 Jan. 2021 That has left Europeans to reluctantly give up on the idea that Christmas celebrations might be a salve in an otherwise dreary, frustrating winter. Washington Post, "With the virus raging, Europeans grudgingly accept the dashed hopes of Christmas," 24 Dec. 2020

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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dreary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dreary. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on dreary

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