serious


serious
serious, grave, solemn, somber, sedate, staid, sober, earnest may be applied to persons, their looks, or their acts with the meaning not light or frivolous but actually or seemingly weighed down by deep thought, heavy cares, or purposive or important work.
Serious implies absorption in work rather than in play, or concern for what matters rather than for what merely amuses
{

the features... were serious and almost sad under the austere responsibilities of infinite pity and power— Henry Adams

}
{

there was no great warmth or fervor in those daily exercises, but rather a serious and decorous propriety— Stowe

}
Grave implies both seriousness and dignity but it usually implies also an expression or attitude that reflects the pressure of weighty interests or responsibilities
{

a grave voice which, falling word by word upon his consciousness, made him stir inside with . . . fear— Styron

}
{

his air was grave and stately, and his manners were very formal— Austen

}
Grave is more likely than serious to be used when a mere appearance is to be implied
{

loved to exaggerate, to astonish people by making extravagant statements with the gravest air— Hall

}
and it may be used of things with qualities suggestive of human gravity
{

the richness and grave dignity of its carved staircase and interior woodwork— Amer. Guide Series: Pa.

}
{

my father's many- volumed edition of the Talmud ... the look of those pages— grave, wide, solid columns of textBehrman

}
Solemn usually heightens the suggestion of impressiveness or awesomeness often implicit in grave
{

perhaps it was natural ... to mistake solemn dignity for sullenness— Shirer

}
{

the solemn splendor of that most wonderful poem, the story of Job— Quiller-Couch

}
{

it was a solemn moment, for these were the last words of Augustus to his people— Buchan

}
Somber applies to a melancholy or depressing gravity, completely lacking in color, light, or cheer
{

the Scots, famed for somber Calvinism and its intellectual theologizing, did not expect to warm to the enthusiastic kind of religion—P. D. Whitney

}
Sedate implies composure and decorous seriousness in character or speech and often a conscious avoidance of lightness or frivolity
{

good sense alone is a sedate and quiescent quality— Johnson

}
{

her habitual expression was sedate and serious, a permanent reproof, as it were, to those who were first attracted by the voluptuous quality of her admirable figure— Linklater

}
Staid implies a settled sedateness, often a prim self-restraint, and an even stronger negation of volatility or frivolity than sedate
{

the side streets here are excessively maiden-lady-like ... the knockers have a very staid, serious, nay almost awful, quietness about them— Keats

}
{

the staid Roman citizen was repelled by the wild dances and the frenzied paeans— Buchan

}
Sober sometimes stresses seriousness of purpose
{

if our pupils are to devote sober attention to our instruction— Grandgent

}
but it more often suggests gravity that proceeds from control over or subdual of one's emotions or passions
{

come, pensive Nun, devout and pure, sober, steadfast, and demure— Milton

}
{

this work is certainly of more sober mien than most of its author's others. It is very long and very serious, and both these qualities are certainly deliberate observances— Virgil Thomson

}
Earnest implies seriousness of purpose as well as sincerity and, often, zealousness and enthusiasm
{

an earnest student

}
{

and men are merry at their chores, and children earnest at their play— Millay

}
{

she set out on an earnest and grim quest for the dollar— Wouk

}
Analogous words: austere, stern, *severe, ascetic: *thoughtful, reflective, contemplative, meditative: *deep, profound
Antonyms: light, flippant
Contrasted words: frivolous, flighty, volatile (see corresponding nouns at LIGHTNESS)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • serious — I (devoted) adjective ardent, assiduous, decided, dedicated, determined, devout, dogged, dutiful, eager, earnest, faithful, fervent, firm, fixed, intent, loyal, passionate, purposeful, relentless, resolute, resolved, settled, sincere, steadfast,… …   Law dictionary

  • serious — [sir′ē əs] adj. [ME seryows < ML seriosus < L serius, grave, orig., prob. weighty, heavy < ? IE base * swer > OE swær, heavy, sad, Goth swers, important, orig., heavy] 1. of, showing, having, or caused by earnestness or deep thought;… …   English World dictionary

  • Serious — may refer to: * Serious (Duran Duran song), a single from the album Liberty * Serious (Duffy song) the fourth single of her debut album. * Serious (Gwen song) , a song from Gwen Stefani s album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. * Serious (TV series) , a… …   Wikipedia

  • Serious — Se ri*ous, a. [L. serius: cf. F. s[ e]rieux, LL. seriosus.] 1. Grave in manner or disposition; earnest; thoughtful; solemn; not light, gay, or volatile. [1913 Webster] He is always serious, yet there is about his manner a graceful ease. Macaulay …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • serious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) demanding or characterized by careful consideration or application. 2) solemn or thoughtful. 3) sincere and in earnest, rather than joking or half hearted. 4) significant or worrying in terms of danger or risk: serious injury. 5)… …   English terms dictionary

  • serious — [adj1] somber, humorless austere, bound, bound and determined*, businesslike, cold sober*, contemplative, deadpan*, deliberate, determined, downbeat*, earnest, funereal, genuine, go for broke*, grave, grim, honest, intent, long faced*, meditative …   New thesaurus

  • serious — mid 15c., expressing earnest purpose or thought (of persons), from M.Fr. sérieux grave, earnest (14c.), from L.L. seriosus, from L. serius weighty, important, grave, probably from a PIE root *swer (Cf. Lith. sveriu to weigh, lift, svarus heavy; O …   Etymology dictionary

  • serious — se|ri|ous W1S1 [ˈsıəriəs US ˈsır ] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(situation/problem)¦ 2 be serious 3¦(important)¦ 4¦(large amount)¦ 5¦(romantic relationship)¦ 6¦(person)¦ 7¦(sport/activity)¦ 8¦(very good)¦ 9¦(worried/unhappy)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ [ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • serious — se|ri|ous [ sıriəs ] adjective *** ▸ 1 bad enough to worry you ▸ 2 deserving attention ▸ 3 not joking ▸ 4 careful and detailed ▸ 5 not laughing much ▸ 6 involving difficult ideas ▸ 7 involving strong feelings ▸ 8 caring about activity ▸ 9… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • serious */*/*/ — UK [ˈsɪərɪəs] / US [ˈsɪrɪəs] adjective 1) bad or dangerous enough to make you worried The sale of the company will have serious implications for people s jobs. a serious problem/mistake: It s not a serious problem – we should be able to fix it… …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.