Gloomy and somber: "Life in the Aran Islands has always been bleak and difficult\u201d ( John Millington Synge). Providing no encouragement; depressing: a bleak prospect. Cold and cutting; raw: bleak winds of the North Atlantic. Exposed to the elements; unsheltered and barren: the bleak, treeless regions of the high Andes. A small European freshwater fish of the genus Alburnus that is related to the carp and has silvery scales used in the manufacture of artificial pearls.