1 [bleek]
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.

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

bleakish, adjective
bleakly, adverb
bleakness, noun

3. See austere. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bleak1 (bliːk)
1.  exposed and barren; desolate
2.  cold and raw
3.  offering little hope or excitement; dismal: a bleak future
[Old English blāc bright, pale; related to Old Norse bleikr white, Old High German bleih pale]

bleak2 (bliːk)
any slender silvery European cyprinid fish of the genus Alburnus, esp A. lucidus, occurring in slow-flowing rivers
[C15: probably from Old Norse bleikja white colour; related to Old High German bleichebleach]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.N. bleikr "pale," from P.Gmc. *blaika- "shining, white," from PIE base *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach). Sense of "cheerless" is c.1719 figurative extension. The same Germanic root produced O.E. blac "pale," but this died out, probably from confusion
with blæc "black;" but bleikr persisted, with a sense of "bare" as well as "pale." Related: Bleakness (c.1600).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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