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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce dreary (audio)

Dictionary definition of dreary

Dull, gloomy, and lacking in brightness or cheerfulness, often in a way that evokes a feeling of monotony or sadness.
"The music had a dreary tone that gave me a feeling of sadness."

Detailed meaning of dreary

When something is characterized as dreary, it implies a persistent sense of bleakness or monotony, often associated with overcast skies, drizzling rain, or a pervasive sense of sadness or boredom. This term can apply to various contexts, such as a dreary, rainy day that lacks sunlight and appears dismal, a dreary routine that feels monotonous and unexciting, or a dreary landscape characterized by its lack of color or life. "Dreary" underscores the idea of something being uninspiring and melancholic, often evoking feelings of lethargy, dullness, or a sense of being trapped in a monotonous and uneventful environment.

Example sentences containing dreary

1. The constant rain outside made the day seem dreary and gray.
2. The old, abandoned house had a dreary and somber appearance.
3. The winter landscape appeared bleak and dreary, covered in a blanket of snow.
4. Her job at the windowless office felt monotonous and dreary.
5. The novel's setting was a dreary town plagued by economic decline.
6. The hospital room had a dreary atmosphere, with dim lighting and plain walls.

History and etymology of dreary

The adjective 'dreary' has its etymological roots in Old English. It is derived from the Old English word 'drēorig,' which means 'sorrowful,' 'gloomy,' or 'mournful.' In Old English, 'dreary' was used to describe situations or environments that were dull, gloomy, and lacking in brightness or cheerfulness, often evoking a feeling of monotony or sadness. Over time, it retained this sense of somberness and desolation. 'Dreary' is commonly used to characterize weather, landscapes, or atmospheres that are overcast, monotonous, or oppressive, creating a sense of melancholy or boredom. It conveys a feeling of listlessness and a lack of vitality, emphasizing the dreariness of a particular scene or circumstance.

Quiz: Find the meaning of dreary

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Further usage examples of dreary

1. The artist's color palette reflected the character's dreary emotions in the painting.
2. The long, dreary journey through the desert seemed never-ending.
3. The play's melancholic music contributed to the overall dreary tone.
4. The movie's depiction of a post-apocalyptic world was both haunting and dreary.
5. The clouds hung low in the sky, casting a dreary shadow over the landscape.
6. The worn-out motel had a dreary, outdated décor that hadn't changed in years.
7. The cemetery on a foggy morning had a particularly eerie and dreary atmosphere.
8. The factory's abandoned interior looked dilapidated and dreary.
9. The children's faces brightened the dreary classroom when they started to smile.
10. The writer's depiction of the war zone painted a dreary picture of destruction and suffering.
11. The empty amusement park had a desolate and dreary feeling to it.
12. The weather forecast predicted a week of dreary rain and overcast skies.
13. The graveyard on a cold, drizzly day felt especially dreary and sorrowful.
14. The protagonist's life in the small, dreary town was marked by a sense of isolation.



somber, cheerful, bright, vibrant


TOEFL 5, High School 13, Atmosphere and Mood

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