A bleak winter landscape.
An example of bleak is a dark, stormy and dreary day.
- exposed to wind and cold; unsheltered; treeless; bare
- cold and cutting; harsh
- not cheerful; gloomy; dreary
- not promising or hopeful: a bleak future
- Obs. pale; wan
Origin of bleakMiddle English bleik ; from Old Norse bleikr, pale: see bleach
Origin of bleak; from Old Norse bleikja ; from bleikr: see bleak
- a. Gloomy and somber: “Life in the Aran Islands has always been bleak and difficult” (John Millington Synge).b. Providing no encouragement; depressing: a bleak prospect.
- Cold and cutting; raw: bleak winds of the North Atlantic.
- Exposed to the elements; unsheltered and barren: the bleak, treeless regions of the high Andes.
Origin of bleakMiddle English bleik, pale, from Old Norse bleikr, white; see bhel-1 in Indo-European roots.
nounpl. bleak or bleaks
Origin of bleakMiddle English bleke, probably alteration (influenced by bleke, pale) of *blay, from Old English bl&aemac;ge.
(comparative bleaker, superlative bleakest)
From Middle English bleke (also bleche > English bleach (“pale, bleak”)), and bleike (due to Old Norse), and earlier Middle English blak, blac (“pale, wan”), from Old English blǣc, blǣċ, blāc (“bleak, pale, pallid, wan, livid; bright, shining, glittering, flashing”) and Old Norse bleikr (“pale, whitish”) , from Proto-Germanic *blaikaz (“pale, shining”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlē-, *bʰel- (“to shine”). Cognate with Dutch bleek (“pale, wan, pallid”), Low German blek (“pale”), German bleich (“pale, wan, sallow”), Danish bleg (“pale”), Swedish blek (“pale, pallid”), Faroese bleikur (“pale”), Icelandic bleikur (“pale, pink”).
Probably from Old Norse bleikja.