Word of the Day – June 20, 2012

bleak (adj.)


harsh; grim

The Greek historian Polybius, of the second century B.C., interpreted what we consider the Golden Age of Athens as the beginning of its decline. To Thucydides, the very security and satisfactory life that the Athenians enjoyed under Pericles blinded them to the bleak forces of human nature that were gradually to be their undoing in the Peloponnesian War.
Robert D. Kaplan     December 1997

gloomy; dreary
The writer Barry Lopez has described the Eskimo concept of perlerorneq, an extreme wintertime depression that can drive sufferers to run half-naked out of their igloos, screaming into the noonday darkness, and devouring malamute scat. Baseball fans will know this bleak phenomenon by its more common name, the off-season— which, by virtue of a calendrical oddity no one has adequately explained, somehow lasts a little longer every year. The Library of America’s indispensable new anthology may just be perlerorneq’s only known antidote.
David Kipen     May 2002

… from More Words That Make A Difference

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