AskDefine | Define bleak

Dictionary Definition

bleak adj
1 offering little or no hope; "the future looked black"; "prospects were bleak"; "Life in the Aran Islands has always been bleak and difficult"- J.M.Synge; "took a dim view of things" [syn: black, dim]
2 providing no shelter or sustenance; "bare rocky hills"; "barren lands"; "the bleak treeless regions of the high Andes"; "the desolate surface of the moon"; "a stark landscape" [syn: bare, barren, desolate, stark]
3 unpleasantly cold and damp; "bleak winds of the North Atlantic" [syn: cutting, raw]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /bli:k/
  • Rhymes with: -iːk

Etymology 1

From blāc.


  1. Without color; pale; pallid.
  2. Desolate and exposed; swept by cold winds.
  3. Cold; cheerless.
    Downtown Albany felt bleak that February after the divorce.
without color
desolate and exposed
  • Dutch: desolaat
  • Finnish: karu, paljas
  • German: öde, ungeschützt
  • Dutch: vreugdeloos
  • Finnish: synkkä, kolkko
  • German: freudlos
Español: Pálido

Etymology 2

Probably from bleikja.


  1. A small European river fish (Alburnus alburnus), of the family Cyprinidae; the blay.
small European river fish
  • Dutch: bliek
  • Finnish: salakka
  • French: ablette
  • German: Laube, Ukelei
  • Old English: blæge
  • Polish: ukleja
  • Russian: уклейка (ukl'éjka)
  • Spanish: albur
  • Swedish: löja

Extensive Definition

The bleak is a small pelagic fish of the Cyprinid family.


The body of the bleak is elongated and flat. The head is pointed and the relatively small mouth is turned upwards. The anal fin is long and has 18 to 23 fin rays. The lateral line is complete.The bleak has a shiny silvery colour the fins are pointed and colourless. The mouth is turned upward. The maximum length is approximately 25 cm.
In Europe the species can easily be confused with many other species. In England young Bream and Silver Bream can be confused with young Bleak. The pointed upward turned mouth of the bleak is already distinctive at young stages. Young Roach and Ruffe have a wider body and a short anal fin.


The Bleak occurs in Western England. In Europe it occurs in Southern Sweden, France and eastward toward the Wolga Basin and North-Western Turkey.


It lives in great schools and feeds upon small molluscs, insects that fall in the water, insect larvae, worms, small shellfish and plant detritus. The bleak prefers open waters and is found in large numbers where there is an inflow of food from pumping stations or behind weirs. It is also found in streams and also in clear standing waters and can be very numerous in lakes.


The bleak spawns near the shore in shallow waters. Some were found in deep water. The substrate is not important.


The Bleak is an important food source for predatory fish. It is more sensitive to pollution then other cyprinids, which might explain the decline in North-Western Europe.


The scales of the Bleak are used to make a silver pigment called the Essence Orientale and artificial pearls.


bleak in Belarusian: Укляя
bleak in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Укляя
bleak in Bulgarian: Уклейка
bleak in German: Ukelei
bleak in Estonian: Viidikas
bleak in Spanish: Alburnus alburnus
bleak in French: Ablette
bleak in Western Frisian: Wever (fisk)
bleak in Italian: Alburnus alburnus
bleak in Lithuanian: Paprastoji aukšlė
bleak in Hungarian: Szélhajtó küsz
bleak in Dutch: Alver
bleak in Norwegian: Laue
bleak in Polish: Ukleja (ryba)
bleak in Russian: Уклейка
bleak in Slovenian: Zelenika
bleak in Serbian: Кедер
bleak in Finnish: Salakka
bleak in Swedish: Löja
bleak in Turkish: İnci balığı

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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