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 What if one of us tests positive — will that person end up alone in some dark and dreary quarantine building in a desolate part of Iceland? Colleen Sullivan, Travel + Leisure, 13 Sep. 2021 After a period of damp, dreary and cool conditions, high pressure will return to the area on Wednesday, bringing partly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s. courant.com, 6 Oct. 2021 Though the weather was dreary and the rain wouldn’t let up, the inclement conditions didn’t stop Fashion House attendees from having fun in the lack of sun. D'shonda Brown, Essence, 22 Sep. 2021 That was so dreary because then, the shelters were cleaned out of dogs. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 21 May 2021 On the other side of the country, cool and dreary conditions will stick around in the Northwest as more coastal rain and even some pockets of snow are expected in the higher elevations. Janice Dean, Fox News, 15 June 2020 Plus, with winter fast approaching, the plants will boost your mood when the weather outdoors is cold and dreary. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Sep. 2021 Like the evening, which went from clear to rainy, the Lions had a promising start — including a 17-14 lead at halftime — and a dreary finish when they were outscored in the second half, 21-0. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2021 The same goes for changing a dreary, overcast background to show crystal blue skies outside the home or the rosy rays of a distant sunset. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Sep. 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dreary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dreary. Accessed 27 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on dreary

Nglish: Translation of dreary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dreary for Arabic Speakers


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