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bleak1

[bleek]
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adjective, bleak·er, bleak·est.
  1. bare, desolate, and often windswept: a bleak plain.
  2. cold and piercing; raw: a bleak wind.
  3. without hope or encouragement; depressing; dreary: a bleak future.

Origin of bleak1

1300–50; Middle English bleke pale, blend of variants bleche (Old English blǣc) and blake (Old English blāc); both cognate with Old Norse bleikr, German bleich; akin to bleach
Related formsbleak·ish, adjectivebleak·ly, adverbbleak·ness, noun

Synonym study

3. See austere.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bleakness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And he liked East Wellmouth, bareness and bleakness and lonesomeness and all.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • There was a bleakness about the situation which made one gasp.

    Jill the Reckless

    P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse

  • But as she entered it that afternoon its air of peace seemed the bleakness of desolation.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • But in partial compensation for this bleakness is a fine ruggedness.

  • The warmth of the room was very agreeable in contrast to the bleakness of out-doors.

    At Fault

    Kate Chopin.


British Dictionary definitions for bleakness

bleak1

adjective
  1. exposed and barren; desolate
  2. cold and raw
  3. offering little hope or excitement; dismala bleak future
Derived Formsbleakly, adverbbleakness, noun

Word Origin

Old English blāc bright, pale; related to Old Norse bleikr white, Old High German bleih pale

bleak2

noun
  1. any slender silvery European cyprinid fish of the genus Alburnus, esp A. lucidus, occurring in slow-flowing rivers

Word Origin

C15: probably from Old Norse bleikja white colour; related to Old High German bleiche bleach
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bleakness

n.

c.1600, from bleak + -ness.

bleak

adj.

c.1300, "pale," from Old Norse bleikr "pale, whitish, blond," from Proto-Germanic *blaika- "shining, white," from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)). Later "bare, windswept" (1530s). Sense of "cheerless" is c.1719 figurative extension. The same Germanic root produced Old English blac "pale," but this died out, probably from confusion with blæc "black;" however bleak persisted, with a sense of "bare" as well as "pale."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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