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1. Thoughtful, somber, or grave in manner: He became serious when he was asked about the economy.
2. Not joking or trifling: I was serious when I said I liked your haircut.
3. Deeply interested or involved: a serious golfer.
4. Meriting great concern: a serious illness; a serious mistake.
5. Performed with careful thought: a serious effort to reform tax policy.
6. Pertaining to important rather than trivial matters: a serious discussion.
7. Sincerely meant: mistook a sarcastic comment for a serious question.
8. Intended for sophisticated people: serious music.
9. Informal Of considerable size or scope; substantial: a serious amount of money.

[Middle English, from Old French serieux, from Late Latin sēriōsus, from Latin sērius.]

se′ri·ous·ly adv.
se′ri·ous·ness n.
Synonyms: serious, sober, grave2, solemn, earnest1
These adjectives refer to manner, appearance, disposition, or acts marked by absorption in thought, pressing concerns, or significant work. Serious implies a concern with responsibility and work as opposed to play: serious students of music. Sober emphasizes circumspection and self-restraint: "When ... his sober demeanor gave way at the graveside, it was with the severity of one bereft beyond redemption" (Philip Roth).
Grave suggests the dignity and somberness associated with weighty matters: "a little girl with brownish-blackish hair standing at one of those windows like a grave captain at the prow of a ship" (Stacey D'Erasmo).
Solemn often adds to grave the suggestion of impressiveness: The judge was solemn when issuing the sentence. Earnest implies sincerity and intensity of purpose: We are earnest in our desire to reach an equitable solution.


  1. Bearing his earnestness like an emblem —Donald MacKenzie
  2. Every man will have his hours of seriousness; but like the hours of rest, they often are ill-chosen and unwholesome —Walter Savage Landor
  3. Grave as a judge that’s giving charge —Samuel Wesley
  4. Grave as an old cat —Anon
  5. Grave as an owl in a barn —George Farquhar
  6. Sedate as a committeeman —William Mcllvanney
  7. Serious as a doctor —Eudora Welty
  8. Serious as an overdue mortgage —Alexander King
  9. Serious as a pig pissin’ —C. J. Koch
  10. (You are so) serious, as if a glacier spoke in your ear —Frank O’Hara
  11. Serious as if at church —Émile Zola
  12. Serious as the Ten Commandments —W. B. Yeats
  13. Serious like a hyacinth … which has had no sun —Virginia Woolf
  14. Sober as a bone —Erich Maria Remarque
  15. Sober as a coroner inspecting a corpse —Amelie Rives
  16. Sober as a judge —Anon

    According to Stevenson’s Book of Proverbs, Maxims and Famous Sayings, John Arbuthnot used the simile in John Bull in 1712, and 22 years later, Henry Fielding used it in Don Quixote In England. Since then, it has become common usage; its meaning more frequently tied to a serious manner than sobriety. In one of his Tutt and Tutt legal stories, Arthur Train added an interesting note of specificity with “Sober as a Kansas judge.”

  17. Solemn as a child in shock —C. J. Koch
  18. Solemn as a clergyman —Nina Bawden
  19. Solemn as a lawyer at a will reading —J. B. Priestley
  20. Solemn as a nun —R. Wright Campbell
  21. Solemn as a soldier going to the front —Norman Mailer
  22. Solemn as kewpie dolls —Diane Ackerman
  23. Solemnly agreed, as though pledging allegiance to the flag —Robert Traver


  24. Stern as a Tartar —Lorenz Hart

    The Tartar described is Queen Elizabeth. This is also the title of a song from Hart’s lyrics for The Garried Gaities of 1926.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.seriousness - an earnest and sincere feelingseriousness - an earnest and sincere feeling  
solemnity, gravity - a solemn and dignified feeling
2.seriousness - the quality of arousing fear or distress; "he learned the seriousness of his illness"
severeness, severity, badness - used of the degree of something undesirable e.g. pain or weather
3.seriousness - the trait of being serious; "a lack of solemnity is not necessarily a lack of seriousness"- Robert Rice
trait - a distinguishing feature of your personal nature
commitment, committedness - the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose; "a man of energy and commitment"
graveness, gravity, soberness, sobriety, somberness, sombreness - a manner that is serious and solemn
sedateness, solemness, solemnity, staidness - a trait of dignified seriousness
frivolity, frivolousness - the trait of being frivolous; not serious or sensible


1. importance, gravity, urgency, moment, weight, danger, significance the seriousness of the crisis
2. solemnity, gravity, earnestness, sobriety, gravitas, sternness, humourlessness, staidness, sedateness They had shown a commitment and a seriousness of purpose.


1. Sober sincerity:
2. The condition of being grave and of involving serious consequences:
جِدِّيَّه، خُطورَه
alvara, alvarleiki
ağır başlılıkciddiyet


[ˈsɪərɪəsnɪs] N
1. (= earnestness) [of suggestion, publication, occasion, voice] → seriedad f; [of report, information, account] → fiabilidad f
in all seriousnesshablando en serio
2. (= gravity) [of situation, problem, threat, damage] → gravedad f, seriedad f; [of illness, injury, mistake] → gravedad f


[ˈsɪəriəsnɪs] n
[person] → sérieux m
[problem] → gravité f


(= earnestness)Ernst m; (= lack of frivolity)Ernsthaftigkeit f; (of consideration, discussion, point, matter etc)Ernst m; (of newspaper, interest) → Ernsthaftigkeit f, → Seriosität f; (of offer, suggestion) → Seriosität f; in all seriousnessganz im Ernst
(= critical nature, of accident, loss, mistake, injury, illness) → Schwere f; (of problem, situation, patient’s condition, threat, shortage)Ernst m; (of deterioration)Bedenklichkeit f


[ˈsɪərɪəsnɪs] n (gen) → serietà, gravità; (of error) → gravità
in all seriousness → in tutta sincerità


(ˈsiəriəs) adjective
1. grave or solemn. a quiet, serious boy; You're looking very serious.
2. (often with about) in earnest; sincere. Is he serious about wanting to be a doctor?
3. intended to make people think. He reads very serious books.
4. causing worry; dangerous. a serious head injury; The situation is becoming serious.
ˈseriousness noun
ˈseriously adverb
in a serious way; to a serious extent. Is he seriously thinking of being an actor?; She is seriously ill.
take (someone or something) seriously
1. to regard (a person or his statement etc) as in earnest. You mustn't take his jokes/promises seriously.
2. to regard (a matter) as a subject for concern or serious thought. He refuses to take anything seriously.
References in classic literature ?
But I know you appreciate the seriousness of it as much as I do, Tom.
The boy was proud of his charge, and undertook it in all seriousness.
Jurgis spent a whole evening impressing upon them the seriousness of the occasion--and then finally, out of innumerable hiding places about their persons and in their baggage, came forth the precious wads of money, to be done up tightly in a little bag and sewed fast in the lining of Teta Elzbieta's dress.
George, who was a bright boy, and well trained in religious things by his mother, finding himself an object of general admiration, threw in expositions of his own, from time to time, with a commendable seriousness and gravity, for which he was admired by the young and blessed by the old; and it was agreed, on all hands, that "a minister couldn't lay it off better than he did; that "'t was reely 'mazin'
When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it.
He waited until the place had become absolutely silent and expectant, then he delivered his deadliest shot; delivered it with ice-cold seriousness and deliberation, with a significant emphasis upon the closing words: he said he believed that the reward offered for the lost knife was humbug and bunkum, and that its owner would know where to find it whenever he should have occasion TO ASSASSINATE SOMEBODY.
There was a seriousness in Harriet's manner which prepared her, quite as much as her words, for something more than ordinary.
At the altered tone of his voice -- altered to a quiet, fatherly seriousness -Magdalen's arms clung round him closer than before.
Micawber with sudden seriousness, 'I have no desire to answer for others.
Fairholme saluted very solemnly, for Agatha bowed to him with marked seriousness.
for I hope the reader need not be told, that I do not in the least intend my own country, in what I say upon this occasion,) a great number of persons concerned were called up; and, upon a very slight examination, discovered such a scene of infamy, that I cannot reflect upon it without some seriousness.
In spite of the seriousness of the circumstances, the absurdity of the question would have made them roar with laughter, if they had not caught sight of a face so sorrow-stricken that they were at once seized with pity.