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[bleek] /blik/
adjective, bleaker, bleakest.
bare, desolate, and often windswept:
a bleak plain.
cold and piercing; raw:
a bleak wind.
without hope or encouragement; depressing; dreary:
a bleak future.
Origin of bleak1
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
3. See austere. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bleaker
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We forded it without accident, and, crossing a loftier and bleaker range, came down into the valley of the Marchan.

    The Lands of the Saracen Bayard Taylor
  • Greg's face was bleaker than usual as he turned from the board to look at Russ.

    Empire Clifford Donald Simak
  • A child of sunny France, she languished under the bleaker New England skies.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The bleaker the situation, so it is near a stream border, the better the cassiope loves it.

  • Hadria suffered from a gnawing home-sickness; a longing for the rougher, bleaker scenery of the North.

  • They reached Waterville an hour later, and they found it even smaller and bleaker than they expected.

    The Candidate Joseph Alexander Altsheler
British Dictionary definitions for bleaker


exposed and barren; desolate
cold and raw
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


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 bleaker



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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