Synonyms & Antonyms of dreary

3 causing weariness, restlessness, or lack of interest
  • another dreary social event to suffer through

Synonyms for dreary

Words Related to dreary

Near Antonyms for dreary

Antonyms for dreary

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About dreary

How does the adjective dreary contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of dreary are bleak, cheerless, desolate, dismal, and gloomy. While all these words mean "devoid of cheer or comfort," dreary, often interchangeable with dismal, emphasizes discouragement resulting from sustained dullness or futility.

a dreary job

When might bleak be a better fit than dreary?

The meanings of bleak and dreary largely overlap; however, bleak suggests chill, dull, and barren characteristics that utterly dishearten.

the bleak years of the depression

When can cheerless be used instead of dreary?

While in some cases nearly identical to dreary, cheerless stresses absence of anything cheering.

a drab and cheerless office

Where would desolate be a reasonable alternative to dreary?

The words desolate and dreary 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 dismal take the place of dreary?

The words dismal and dreary are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dismal indicates extreme and utterly depressing gloominess.

dismal weather

When could gloomy be used to replace dreary?

In some situations, the words gloomy and dreary are roughly equivalent. However, gloomy often suggests lack of hope or promise.

gloomy war news

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dreary

Time Traveler for dreary

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Dreary.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dreary

Dictionary: Definition of 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!