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a. Dark; gloomy: a somber room.
b. Dull or dark in color: somber hues.
a. Melancholy; dismal: a somber mood.
b. Serious; grave: a somber spokesperson.

[French sombre, from Old French, from *sombrer, to cast a shadow, from Late Latin subumbrāre, from Latin sub umbrā, in shadow : sub, under; see sub- + umbrā, ablative of umbra, shadow.]

som′ber·ly adv.
som′ber·ness n.


(ˈsɒm bər)

1. gloomily dark; shadowy: a somber passageway.
2. dark and dull in color or tone: a somber dress.
3. downcast; glum: a somber mood.
4. extremely serious; grave: a somber expression on one's face.
Also, esp. Brit.,som′bre.
[1750–60; < French sombre]
som′ber•ly, adv.
som′ber•ness, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.somber - lacking brightness or color; dull; "drab faded curtains"; "sober Puritan grey"; "children in somber brown clothes"
colorless, colourless - weak in color; not colorful
2.somber - grave or even gloomy in character; "solemn and mournful music"; "a suit of somber black"; "a somber mood"
cheerless, depressing, uncheerful - causing sad feelings of gloom and inadequacy; "the economic outlook is depressing"; "something cheerless about the room"; "a moody and uncheerful person"; "an uncheerful place"


2. Full of or marked by dignity and seriousness:
References in classic literature ?
Beyond sat a pair of humble lovers, artlessly holding each other by the hand, a somber spinster eating peppermints out of a paper bag, and an old gentleman taking his preparatory nap behind a yellow bandanna.
The Colonel, with little sense of humor and of the fitness of things, related a somber episode of those dark and bitter days, in which he had acted a conspicuous part and always formed a central figure.
Still the clear fountain retained a portion of its charmed influence, but it reflected only the somber gloom that fell from the impending heavens.
When he came home that night he was in a very somber mood, having begun to see at last how those might be right who had laughed at him for his faith in America.
She saw herself sink from the sublime height of motherhood to the somber depths of unmodified slavery, the abyss of separation between her and her boy was complete.
Surely, the grand old Bible name -- suggestive of a sad and somber dignity; recalling, in its first association, mournful ideas of penitence and seclusion -- had been here, as events had turned out, inappropriately bestowed?
The somber picture which he had for a moment imagined of a Christine forgetting her duty to herself made way for his original conception of an unfortunate, innocent child, the victim of imprudence and exaggerated sensibility.
Twice the black followed a blind trail and they were forced to retrace their steps; but at last they came out into a little clearing near the big afi--a clearing that once held a thriving village, but lay somber and desolate in decay and ruin.
We have said that Athos loved D'Artagnan like a child, and this somber and inflexible personage felt the anxiety of a parent for the young man.
Sometimes he could see them gesticulating against the blue and somber sky.
It was, in the night, as though I had been faced by my own reflection in the depths of a somber and immense mirror.
Such were the ideas of the unfortunate prince while sitting listlessly upon his horse, to which he abandoned the reins; he rode slowly along beneath the warm May sun, in which the somber misanthropy of the exile perceived a last insult to his grief.