9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 bleakness
  • The total inability to project anything into any kind of future adds to the bleakness.
  • But when day follows night, the buzz gives way to bleakness.
  • The continuing economic bleakness also creates a political problem.
  • Its startling violence and bleakness set the tone for the rest of the episode.
  • Technical simplicity may produce, instead of effects of tension and power, effects of bleakness and poorness.
  • But the daylight scenes glare with such a morning-after bleakness that the contrast must have been planned.
  • Both the beauty and the bleakness of this remote village have drawn many artists to the area.
  • Suddenly, with the bleakness of loss, she finds that she too has nowhere to go.
  • We root for his ambition, his hostility to sham, his impatience with the automatic bleakness of his tribe.
  • After years of unimaginable bleakness, it is finally time to step into the light.
British Dictionary definitions for bleakness


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 bleakness

c.1600, from bleak + -ness.



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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