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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.
- Bearing his earnestness like an emblem —Donald MacKenzie
- Every man will have his hours of seriousness; but like the hours of rest, they often are ill-chosen and unwholesome —Walter Savage Landor
- Grave as a judge that’s giving charge —Samuel Wesley
- Grave as an old cat —Anon
- Grave as an owl in a barn —George Farquhar
- Sedate as a committeeman —William Mcllvanney
- Serious as a doctor —Eudora Welty
- Serious as an overdue mortgage —Alexander King
- Serious as a pig pissin’ —C. J. Koch
- (You are so) serious, as if a glacier spoke in your ear —Frank O’Hara
- Serious as if at church —Émile Zola
- Serious as the Ten Commandments —W. B. Yeats
- Serious like a hyacinth … which has had no sun —Virginia Woolf
- Sober as a bone —Erich Maria Remarque
- Sober as a coroner inspecting a corpse —Amelie Rives
- 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.”
- Solemn as a child in shock —C. J. Koch
- Solemn as a clergyman —Nina Bawden
- Solemn as a lawyer at a will reading —J. B. Priestley
- Solemn as a nun —R. Wright Campbell
- Solemn as a soldier going to the front —Norman Mailer
- Solemn as kewpie dolls —Diane Ackerman
- Solemnly agreed, as though pledging allegiance to the flag —Robert Traver
See Also: AGREEMENT/DISAGREEMENT
- 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.
|Noun||1.||seriousness - an earnest and sincere feeling|
|2.||seriousness - the quality of arousing fear or distress; "he learned the seriousness of his illness"|
|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
in all seriousness → hablando en serio
seriousness[ˈsɪərɪəsnɪs] n (gen) → serietà, gravità; (of error) → gravità
in all seriousness → in tutta sincerità