[ dreer-ee ]
/ ˈdrɪər i /

adjective, drear·i·er, drear·i·est.

causing sadness or gloom.
dull; boring.
sorrowful; sad.

Nearby words

  1. dreamwork,
  2. dreamy,
  3. dreamy state,
  4. drear,
  5. dreariness,
  6. dreck,
  7. drecksill,
  8. dred scott decision,
  9. dredge,
  10. dredge up

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dreary

British Dictionary definitions for dreary


/ (ˈdrɪərɪ) /

adjective drearier or dreariest

sad or dull; dismal
wearying; boring
archaic miserable
Also (literary): drear

Derived Formsdrearily, adverbdreariness, noun

Word Origin for dreary

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 dreary



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