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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 dreariness
Historical Examples
  • What other exile could have taught any secrets of monotony or dreariness to the daughter of a lone missionary?

  • She closed her confession by saying, 'You see, I may well speak of dreariness.'

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
  • I cannot hope to make you understand how the dreariness of the place struck me, and what a chill it set upon my heart.

    Long Live the King Guy Boothby
  • "I've changed my mind," she said, dreariness still in her voice.

    No Clue James Hay
  • With a sinking heart, too, she realized something else: the dreariness of her own future now without Pollyanna.

    Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter
  • So, she went through the inferno of days and nights in a dreariness of suffering that was deadly.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Life at the Dale Street flat had settled into a monotony of discontent and dreariness.

    The Road to Understanding Eleanor H. Porter
  • Do you suppose I do not understand the dreariness it has been for you?

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • Nothing could exceed in dreariness the appearance of the tracks through which we journeyed, on this and the two following days.

  • She takes a fancy to the dreariness, and always carries the key with her.

British Dictionary definitions for dreariness


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 dreariness

Old English dreorinysse; see dreary + -ness.



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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