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[dreer-ee] /ˈdrɪər i/
adjective, drearier, dreariest.
causing sadness or gloom.
dull; boring.
sorrowful; sad.
Origin of dreary
before 900; Middle English drery, Old English drēorig gory, cruel, sad, equivalent to drēor gore + -ig -y1; akin to Old Norse dreyrigr bloody, German traurig sad
Related forms
drearily, adverb
dreariness, noun
drearisome, adjective
1. gloomy, dismal, drear, cheerless, depressing, comfortless. 2. tedious, monotonous, wearisome, tiresome.
1. cheerful. 2. interesting. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for drearily
Historical Examples
  • Hopelessly and drearily he accepted this as a fact even while with all his might fighting that tiger skin.

    Miss Billy Married Eleanor H. Porter
  • drearily and wearily drew on the dark hours of that tempestuous night.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • "If lethargy itself be required, this is a capital place for it," sighed Conyers, drearily.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • "Yes, very—for those that have homes to go to," said Ruth drearily.

  • And as he stood there drearily, he became reproach incarnate.

  • Yes, Gedge,” said Bracy drearily; “it is all downhill now to the end.

    Fix Bay'nets George Manville Fenn
  • Leroux rose from the armchair in which he had been sitting and stared, drearily, at the newcomer.

    The Yellow Claw Sax Rohmer
  • “Well, this life is too much for me,” murmured Mrs. Purblind drearily.

    How to Cook Husbands Elizabeth Strong Worthington
  • “I did not speak, I was only thinking,” said Sydney, drearily.

    Syd Belton George Manville Fenn
  • And I was surprised to hear her say drearily that she had been in London; she had been everywhere.

British Dictionary definitions for drearily


adjective drearier, dreariest
sad or dull; dismal
wearying; boring
(archaic) miserable
Also (literary) drear
Derived Forms
drearily, adverb
dreariness, noun
Word Origin
Old English drēorig gory; related to Old High German trūreg sad
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
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Word Origin and History for drearily



Old English dreorig "sad, sorrowful," originally "cruel, bloody, blood-stained," from dreor "gore, blood," from (ge)dreosan (past participle droren) "fall, decline, fail," from West Germanic *dreuzas (cf. Old Norse dreyrigr "gory, bloody," and more remotely, German traurig "sad, sorrowful"), from PIE root *dhreu- "to fall, flow, drip, droop" (see drip (v.)).

The word has lost its original sense of "dripping blood." Sense of "dismal, gloomy" first recorded 1667 in "Paradise Lost," but Old English had a related verb drysmian "become gloomy."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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