Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Dismal; bleak.
  • adj. Boring; dull: dreary tasks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Grievous, dire; appalling.
  • adj. Drab; dark, colorless, or cheerless.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sorrowful; distressful.
  • adj. Exciting cheerless sensations, feelings, or associations; comfortless; dismal; gloomy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sorrowful; sad.
  • Lonesomely dismal or gloomy; exciting a feeling of desolation, sadness, or gloom.
  • Hence Exciting a feeling of tedium or ennui; tiresomely monotonous: as, a dreary book.
  • Synonyms and Cheerless, comfortless, drear, dark. Tedious.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. causing dejection
  • adj. lacking in liveliness or charm or surprise

Etymologies

Middle English dreri, bloody, frightened, sad, from Old English drēorig, bloody, sad, from drēor, gore; see dhreu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English drery, from Old English drēoriġ ("dreary, sad, sorrowful, mournful, pensive, causing grief, cruel, horrid, grievous, bloody, blood-stained, gory, glorious"), from Proto-Germanic *dreuzagaz (“bloody”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰreus- (“to break, break off, crumble”). Cognate with Dutch treurig ("sad, gloomy"), German traurig ("sad, sorrowful, mournful"), Old Norse dreyrigr ("bloody"). Related to Old English drēor ("blood, falling blood"), Old English drysmian ("to become gloomy"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He called to tell me he had decided that he would rather begin his stay at the clinic in Switzerland and attend the music conservatory during the holidays than remain at the Clairborne mansion for what he called another dreary Christmas.

    Pearl in The Mist

  • It was the reward he had promised her for what he called her dreary, mechanical job of copying and copying.

    Mr. Waddington of Wyck

  • "It is what I call a dreary, dismal-looking town," said Miles to

    Blue Lights Hot Work in the Soudan

  • Her use of the word "dreary" is a clever utilization of a subjective adjective (and a very Wordsworthian one).

    Wordsworth, the _Lyrical Ballads_, and Literary and Social Reform in Nineteenth Century America

  • When we were packing up to leave last week I had occasion to re-fondle the Fyberspates yarn in dreary olive green which I had laid out to take to Alyth to donate to charity.

    Jean's Knitting

  • The restaurant and night-life industry may be buzzing downtown, but some of the biggest fireworks take place in dreary meeting rooms where tempers flare, tears are shed and the back and forth can stretch on for up to eight hours.

    Clubs, Eateries Target Local Boards

  • After a few months in dreary England, Alfred Tayler went to the Empire Exhibition and was seduced by the thought of farming in Southern Rhodesia.

    On Doris Lessing « Tales from the Reading Room

  • All things considered, it could be worse, but all of the grey and the dreary is sort of sapping my motivation.

    » Smiling in the Rain Strocel.com

  • Boston has had a fair share of cold, rainy and just plain dreary weather over the last couple of months.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • Right now, we're in dreary Ohio but we're originally from New Jersey.

    Page 2

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Comments

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  • It's a dark and dreary night
    Seems like nothing's going right
    Won't you tell me honey how can I go on here without you?


    ("Ring Ring", by ABBA)

    May 19, 2008