AskDefine | Define dismal

Dictionary Definition

dismal adj
1 depressing in character or appearance; "drove through dingy streets"; "the dismal prison twilight"- Charles Dickens; "drab old buildings"; "a dreary mining town"; "gloomy tenements"; "sorry routine that follows on the heels of death"- B.A.Williams [syn: dingy, drab, drear, dreary, gloomy, sorry]
2 causing dejection; "a blue day"; "the dark days of the war"; "a week of rainy depressing weather"; "a disconsolate winter landscape"; "the first dismal dispiriting days of November"; "a dark gloomy day"; "grim rainy weather" [syn: blue, dark, depressing, disconsolate, dispiriting, gloomy, grim]

User Contributed Dictionary



From the Latin dies, day, and mali, bad ("bad day").


  • /ˈdɪzm(ə)l/


  1. disappointingly inadequate
    He received a dismal compensation
  2. gloomy and bleak
    The storm made for a dismal weekend
  3. depressing
    She was lost in dismal thoughts of despair
  4. blue
    Dismal are the eyes of the wolf.


disappointingly inadequate
Portuguese: inadequado
gloomy and bleak
  • Finnish: synkkä, surullinen
  • Finnish: surullinen

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Cassandra-like, Cassandran, Cassandrian, Quaker-colored, acier, affecting, afflictive, affording no hope, apathetic, arid, ashen, ashy, barren, bitter, black, blah, blank, bleak, bloodless, blue, canescent, characterless, cheerless, cinerary, cinereous, cinerous, cold, colorless, comfortless, cynical, dapple, dapple-gray, dappled, dappled-gray, dark, dead, defeatist, deplorable, depressing, depressive, despairing, desperate, despondent, dingy, dirgelike, discomforting, disconsolate, disheartening, dismaying, distressful, distressing, doleful, dolorific, dolorogenic, dolorous, dove-colored, dove-gray, downbeat, draggy, drear, drearisome, dreary, dry, dryasdust, dull, dusty, effete, elephantine, empty, epitaphic, etiolated, exequial, fade, feral, flat, forlorn, funebrial, funebrious, funebrous, funeral, funerary, funereal, glaucescent, glaucous, gloomy, grave, gray, gray-black, gray-brown, gray-colored, gray-drab, gray-green, gray-spotted, gray-toned, gray-white, grayed, grayish, grievous, grim, griseous, grizzle, grizzled, grizzly, heavy, ho-hum, hollow, hopeless, in despair, inane, inexcitable, insipid, iron-gray, jejune, joyless, lamentable, lead-gray, leaden, lifeless, livid, low-spirited, lowering, lugubrious, melancholy, miserable, morose, mortuary, mournful, mouse-colored, mouse-gray, mousy, moving, necrological, negative, negativistic, nihilistic, obituary, obsequial, oppressive, painful, pale, pallid, pathetic, pearl, pearl-gray, pearly, pedestrian, pessimist, pessimistic, piteous, pitiable, plodding, poignant, pointless, poky, ponderous, regrettable, rueful, sad, saddening, saturnine, sepulchral, sharp, silver, silver-gray, silvered, silvery, slate-colored, slaty, slow, smoke-gray, smoky, sober, solemn, somber, sombrous, sore, sorrowful, spiritless, steel-gray, steely, sterile, stiff, stodgy, stone-colored, stuffy, superficial, tasteless, taupe, tedious, touching, triste, uncheerful, uncomfortable, unhappy, unhopeful, unlively, vapid, weariful, wearisome, weary, without hope, woebegone, woeful, wooden, wretched
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