Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective bleak contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of bleak are cheerless, desolate, dismal, dreary, and gloomy. While all these words mean "devoid of cheer or comfort," bleak suggests chill, dull, and barren characteristics that utterly dishearten.

the bleak years of the depression

When is cheerless a more appropriate choice than bleak?

The words cheerless and bleak can be used in similar contexts, but cheerless stresses absence of anything cheering.

a drab and cheerless office

In what contexts can desolate take the place of bleak?

The meanings of desolate and bleak largely overlap; however, desolate adds an element of utter remoteness or lack of human contact to any already disheartening aspect.

a desolate outpost

When might dismal be a better fit than bleak?

The synonyms dismal and bleak are sometimes interchangeable, but dismal indicates extreme and utterly depressing gloominess.

dismal weather

Where would dreary be a reasonable alternative to bleak?

While the synonyms dreary and bleak are close in meaning, dreary, often interchangeable with dismal, emphasizes discouragement resulting from sustained dullness or futility.

a dreary job

When would gloomy be a good substitute for bleak?

The words gloomy and bleak are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, gloomy often suggests lack of hope or promise.

gloomy war news

Thesaurus Entries Near bleak

Cite this Entry

“Bleak.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

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