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  • IPA(key): /bliːk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːk

Etymology 1[edit]

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)[1], from Proto-Germanic *blaikaz (pale, shining). Cognate with Dutch bleek (pale, wan, pallid), Low German blek (pale), German bleich (pale, wan, sallow), Danish bleg (pale), Swedish blek (pale, pallid), Norwegian bleik (pale), Faroese bleikur (pale), Icelandic bleikur (pale, pink).


bleak (comparative bleaker, superlative bleakest)

  1. Without color; pale; pallid.
    • Foxe
      When she came out she looked as pale and as bleak as one that were laid out dead.
  2. Desolate and exposed; swept by cold winds.
    • Wordsworth
      Wastes too bleak to rear / The common growth of earth, the foodful ear.
    • Longfellow
      at daybreak, on the bleak sea beach
    A bleak and bare rock.
    They escaped across the bleak landscape.
    A bleak, crater-pocked moonscape.
    We hiked across open meadows and climbed bleak mountains.
  3. Unhappy; cheerless; miserable; emotionally desolate.
    Downtown Albany felt bleak that February after the divorce.
    A bleak future is in store for you.
    The news is bleak.
    The survey paints a bleak picture.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably from Old Norse bleikja.


bleak (plural bleaks or bleak)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. A small European river fish (Alburnus alburnus), of the family Cyprinidae.


  1. ^ bleak” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.