Dismal – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Dismal – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

The dismal definition is depressingly bleak or gloomy, lacking brightness or cheerfulness, and characterized by a sense of sorrow, sadness, or desolation.

History of the Word Dismal

Historical Usage

Historically, dismal was used to describe situations, places, or weather conditions that inspired gloominess or sadness. In literature, it was employed to create a somber and melancholic atmosphere. Notably, the Dismal Swamp in the southeastern United States was named for its dark and foreboding appearance.

Modern Usage

In modern language, dismal continues to convey a sense of gloom, darkness, or hopelessness. It is used to describe anything that lacks brightness or cheerfulness, including weather, prospects, or moods.

English (Dismal As Adjective)


Dismal originates from the Middle French disme, meaning evil or wretched.


Pronounced: /ˈdɪzməl/.

Forms of Dismal

Adjective dismal
Comparative Degree  more dismal
Superlative Degree  most dismal
Adverb dismally
Noun dismalness

Derived Terms

  • Dismally
  • Dismalness


  • Spanish: sombrío
  • French: morne
  • German: düster
  • Italian: cupo
  • Portuguese: sombrio
  • Russian: мрачный (mrachnyy)
  • Chinese (Simplified): 阴沉的 (yīnchén de)
  • Japanese: 陰鬱な (in’utsu na)
  • Hindi: उदास (udaas)
  • Urdu: اداس (udaas)


  • Bleak
  • Dreary
  • Grim
  • Cheerless
  • Somber
  • Depressing
  • Sorrowful
  • Melancholy
  • Forlorn
  • Gloomy


  • Cheerful
  • Bright
  • Lively
  • Joyful
  • Optimistic
  • Pleasant
  • Sunny
  • Upbeat
  • Radiant
  • Happy

Examples Sentences

  • The weather turned dismal with heavy rain.
  • The news about the job cuts was truly dismal.
  • His old abandoned house had a dismal atmosphere.

Dismal Practical Uses

  • Weather Outlook
  • Financial Report
  • Mood Indicator
  • Performance Review
  • Film Review
  • Economic Forecast
  • Test Results
  • Real Estate Market
  • Job Prospects
  • Health Update

FAQs (People May Also Ask)

Q: What is a dismal definition?

Ans: Dismal describes something causing gloom, depression, or despair; it lacks brightness, cheerfulness, or hope.

Q: Can dismal be used as a noun?

Yes, dismalness is the noun form, referring to the quality or state of being dismal.

Q: What’s the adverb form of dismal?

Ans: The adverb form is dismal, used to describe how something is done dismally.

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