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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  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.

Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. Sober sincerity:
2. The condition of being grave and of involving serious consequences:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈsɪəriəsnɪs] n
[person] → sérieux m
[problem] → gravité f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= 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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsɪərɪəsnɪs] n (gen) → serietà, gravità; (of error) → gravità
in all seriousness → in tutta sincerità
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
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.
Among others, to show the whimsicality of their deadly seriousness, may be mentioned the following: The Bleeding Hearts, Sons of the Morning, the Morning Stars, The Flamingoes, The Triple Triangles, The Three Bars, The Rubonics, The Vindicators, The Comanches, and the Erebusites.
The military authorities were certainly alive to the seriousness of the busi- ness.
The perfect seriousness with which he narrated his misfortunes convulsed me with laughter, and this added to Mrs.
"I'll just tell you one fact, ladies and gentlemen," continued the latter, with apparent seriousness and even exaltation of manner, but with a suggestion of "chaff" behind every word, as though he were laughing in his sleeve at his own nonsense--"a fact, the discovery of which, I believe, I may claim to have made by myself alone.
The boy was proud of his charge, and undertook it in all seriousness. There was not a day when he did not pay me a visit; sometimes picking me out from among the other horses, and giving me a bit of carrot, or something good, or sometimes standing by me while I ate my oats.
I dare say he never did, because I understand that diplomatists, in and out of the career, take themselves and their tricks with an exemplary 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. Perjury, oppression, subornation, fraud, pandarism, and the like infirmities, were among the most excusable arts they had to mention; and for these I gave, as it was reasonable, great allowance.
In the execution of this task, there is no man who would not find it an arduous effort either to behold with moderation, or to treat with seriousness, the devices, not less weak than wicked, which have been contrived to pervert the public opinion in relation to the subject.
We stirred him up occasionally, but he only unclosed an eye and slowly closed it again, abating no jot of his stately piety of demeanor or his tremendous seriousness. He only seemed to say, "Defile not Heaven's anointed with unsanctified hands." We did not know his name, and so we called him "The Pilgrim." Dan said:
"Really?" said Pierre, gazing over his spectacles with curiosity and seriousness (for which Princess Mary was specially grateful to him) into Ivanushka's face, who, seeing that she was being spoken about, looked round at them all with crafty eyes.
As she talked to her friends her eyes for the moment seemed to have lost their seriousness. Her youth had reasserted itself--her youth and splendid physical health.