• synonyms


adjective, drear·i·er, drear·i·est.
  1. causing sadness or gloom.
  2. dull; boring.
  3. sorrowful; sad.
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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 formsdrear·i·ly, adverbdrear·i·ness, noundrear·i·some, adjective



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

Examples from the Web for drearily

Historical Examples

  • "Sending me to prison won't stop it," Mary Turner said, drearily.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When Davis knocked at the door she said drearily, “Come in.”

    A Singer from the Sea

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • "Maybe I'd be better able to say it if I knew what you was talkin' about, Sam," he observed, drearily.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "It was your thoughts I was following out," said she, drearily.

  • “Tom tried to force people to let him work,” the girl went on drearily.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for drearily


adjective drearier or dreariest
  1. sad or dull; dismal
  2. wearying; boring
  3. archaic miserable
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Also (literary): drear
Derived Formsdrearily, adverbdreariness, 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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper