For example: "Syreeta Myers tells me on this dreary Sunday afternoon."

I looked up a dictionary and it meant "boring and making you feel sad." How is it different from being just sad? What is the tone of the word? Is it formal or informal? When exactly do you usually use this word?

1 Answer 1


Well, how I would use this word is purely a matter of opinion, but I tend to use it on things that make me want to not do anything and stay inside. "What dreary weather!" would mean "This weather isn't at all suitable for leaving the house," or perhaps more accurately "This weather makes me feel like staying inside and not doing anything."

Sure enough, M-W (I typed the above paragraph without looking up the word) describes dreary as "causing unhappiness." I suppose that I equate that feeling of unhappiness closer to lethargy than actual sadness. Dreary can be used in a formal setting. It's not slang, and is commonly found in literature.

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    “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, / Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, / While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, / As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. / "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door — / Only this, and nothing more." - Poe, 'The Raven' Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 2:23
  • "Once upon a weekday dreary, while I traveled, weak and weary, / Over many long and curious questions of English lore, / While I was clicking, seeking content, suddenly there came a comment, / As of some one gently typing, knowledge to the fore. / "Tis @StoneyB again," I muttered, "quoting words of yore / Only this, and nothing more." (Apologies to Poe)
    – Damien H
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 6:32

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