Synonyms & Antonyms of dismal

3 extremely unsatisfactory
  • the quarterback's dismal performance suggested that he had not fully recovered from his recent injury

Synonyms for dismal

Words Related to dismal

Near Antonyms for dismal

Antonyms for dismal

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About dismal

How does the adjective dismal contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of dismal are bleak, cheerless, desolate, dreary, and gloomy. While all these words mean "devoid of cheer or comfort," dismal indicates extreme and utterly depressing gloominess.

dismal weather

When is it sensible to use bleak instead of dismal?

Although the words bleak and dismal have much in common, bleak suggests chill, dull, and barren characteristics that utterly dishearten.

the bleak years of the depression

When could cheerless be used to replace dismal?

In some situations, the words cheerless and dismal are roughly equivalent. However, cheerless stresses absence of anything cheering.

a drab and cheerless office

When can desolate be used instead of dismal?

The words desolate and dismal can be used in similar contexts, but desolate adds an element of utter remoteness or lack of human contact to any already disheartening aspect.

a desolate outpost

In what contexts can dreary take the place of dismal?

The synonyms dreary and dismal are sometimes interchangeable, but dreary, often interchangeable with dismal, emphasizes discouragement resulting from sustained dullness or futility.

a dreary job

When is gloomy a more appropriate choice than dismal?

While the synonyms gloomy and dismal are close in meaning, gloomy often suggests lack of hope or promise.

gloomy war news

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dismal

Time Traveler for dismal

Time Traveler

The first known use of dismal was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Dismal.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dismal

Dictionary: Definition of dismal

Nglish: Translation of dismal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dismal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dismal

What made you want to look up dismal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!