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See more synonyms for dreary on Thesaurus.com
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


See more synonyms for dreary on Thesaurus.com
1. gloomy, dismal, drear, cheerless, depressing, comfortless. 2. tedious, monotonous, wearisome, tiresome.


1. cheerful. 2. interesting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dreariness

Historical Examples

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

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Do you suppose I do not understand the dreariness it has been for you?

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

  • The weather was much the same; but its dreariness had vanished.

  • Now the bigness only emphasized the dreariness and desolation.

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for dreariness


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 dreariness


Old English dreorinysse; see dreary + -ness.

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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