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bleak1

[bleek] /blik/
adjective, bleaker, bleakest.
1.
bare, desolate, and often windswept:
a bleak plain.
2.
cold and piercing; raw:
a bleak wind.
3.
without hope or encouragement; depressing; dreary:
a bleak future.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English bleke pale, blend of variants bleche (Old English blǣc) and blake (Old English blāc); both cognate with Old Norse bleikr, German bleich; akin to bleach
Related forms
bleakish, adjective
bleakly, adverb
bleakness, noun
Synonyms
3. See austere.

bleak2

[bleek] /blik/
noun
1.
a European freshwater fish, Alburnus alburnus, having scales with a silvery pigment that is used in the production of artificial pearls.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English bleke, noun use of bleke pale; see bleak1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bleak
  • In light of human population pressures and deforestation, the future appears bleak for the wild tiger.
  • McCorkle paints a bleak picture that becomes all the more depressing if extended to its logical conclusion.
  • Both the plot and the atmosphere of the film are extremely bleak.
  • There is no denying that the employment landscape looks bleak and barren.
  • Maybe the future doesn't look so bleak after all.
  • All that was left on the shelves that bleak, snowy afternoon were paper doilies and a few boxes of prepackaged chocolates.
  • Job losses and shrinking home equity are contributing to the bleak outlook.
  • Scientists say the outlook for the world's oceans is bleak—unless we stop overfishing and reduce air and water pollution.
  • We were grateful just to be standing there in that heat after such a long bleak year in the city.
  • Lilacs are a fragrant cure for the winter chills and short, bleak days.
British Dictionary definitions for bleak

bleak1

/bliːk/
adjective
1.
exposed and barren; desolate
2.
cold and raw
3.
offering little hope or excitement; dismal: a bleak future
Derived Forms
bleakly, adverb
bleakness, noun
Word Origin
Old English blāc bright, pale; related to Old Norse bleikr white, Old High German bleih pale

bleak2

/bliːk/
noun
1.
any slender silvery European cyprinid fish of the genus Alburnus, esp A. lucidus, occurring in slow-flowing rivers
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old Norse bleikja white colour; related to Old High German bleichebleach
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 bleak
adj.

c.1300, "pale," from Old Norse bleikr "pale, whitish, blond," from Proto-Germanic *blaika- "shining, white," from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)). Later "bare, windswept" (1530s). Sense of "cheerless" is c.1719 figurative extension. The same Germanic root produced Old English blac "pale," but this died out, probably from confusion with blæc "black;" however bleak persisted, with a sense of "bare" as well as "pale."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for bleak

(Alburnus alburnus), small, slender fish of the carp family, Cyprinidae, found in rivers and lakes of England and Europe. A silvery-green fish, it grows to a maximum length of about 20 centimetres (8 inches). It lives in schools, usually near the surface, and eats aquatic invertebrates. The bleak is edible but bony. Its scales are used in eastern Europe for the manufacture of artificial pearls.

Learn more about bleak with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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