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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 of bleak1
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bleak
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "It's about as bleak a place for a house as a man could pick," Lambert agreed.

  • He stood off from us with his arms folded and his face was as bleak as a winter-bitten wood.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • We said no more about it, nor did he say a word about the future of bleak House.

    Bleak House Charles Dickens
  • A dense forest was behind them, the bleak ocean before them.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • But her little feet were wounded and sore, and everything around her looked cold and bleak.

    Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen
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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