Also found in: Thesaurus.


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.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.somberness - a state of partial or total darkness; "he struck a match to dispel the gloom"
semidarkness - partial darkness
2.somberness - a feeling of melancholy apprehension
apprehension, apprehensiveness, dread - fearful expectation or anticipation; "the student looked around the examination room with apprehension"
melancholy - a feeling of thoughtful sadness
3.somberness - a manner that is serious and solemn
serious-mindedness, earnestness, seriousness, sincerity - the trait of being serious; "a lack of solemnity is not necessarily a lack of seriousness"- Robert Rice
stodginess, stuffiness - dull and pompous gravity
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Occasional shafts of sunlight, penetrating the deep shade, warmed the somberness of the grove.
The idle- ness of a passenger, my isolation amongst all these men with whom I had no point of contact, the oily and lan- guid sea, the uniform somberness of the coast, seemed to keep me away from the truth of things, within the toil of a mournful and senseless delusion.
Instead of pride and uplift among the program's key players, however, there is an overarching somberness to the narrative, an edge of anxiety over the prospect of lethal failures in the Soviet path to the stars.
At the WW II memorial museum in Nagasaki, an almost solemn place for the Japanese, there is a palpable somberness to how they regard history.
As the film progress and the lives of the protagonists get tough, the film's songs and background score lend somberness to the story.
Alas, the musical tripped on its stilettos whenever it turned somber, the epitome of this somberness being Roeder Camanag's Waterina.
WASHINGTON a There was an unmistakable somberness Tuesday morning at what should have been a joyful event.
It was only strategic that for royal somberness and effect, another governor and many others should be saddled with the task of sustaining and strengthening the advocacies.
Despite the somberness of funerals, however, "happiness may...
There were feelings of somberness and sadness for the families who lost loved ones.
Oldberg's work, the spirit of the music alternates between powerful somberness and grave, sweet, melodious lyric beauty....