Meaning of SERIOUS in English
se ‧ ri ‧ ous S1 W1 /ˈsɪəriəs $ ˈsɪr-/ BrE AmE adjective
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ seriousness ; adverb : ↑ seriously ; adjective : ↑ serious ]
[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: sérieux , from Late Latin seriosus , from Latin serius ]
1 . SITUATION/PROBLEM a serious situation, problem, accident etc is extremely bad or dangerous:
the serious problem of unemployment
Luckily, the damage was not serious.
Serious crimes have increased dramatically.
serious injury/illness/accident etc
a serious accident on the freeway
Oil spills pose a serious threat to marine life.
The president was in serious trouble.
⇨ see Thesaurus box on P. 1590
2 . IMPORTANT important and needing a lot of thought or attention:
This is a very serious matter.
the serious business of earning a living
Be quiet, Jim. This is serious.
3 . NOT JOKING OR PRETENDING if someone is serious about something they say or plan to do, they really mean it and are not joking or pretending:
His voice suddenly became more serious.
a serious article
Is she serious about giving up her job?
deadly/dead serious (=definitely not joking)
She sounded dead serious.
Marry Frank? You can’t be serious!
4 . CAREFUL serious attention/consideration/thought careful and thorough attention etc:
I’ll give your suggestion serious consideration.
5 . QUIET/SENSIBLE someone who is serious is very quiet and sensible, and does not laugh and joke much:
a serious student
6 . WORRIED/UNHAPPY slightly worried or unhappy:
You look serious. What’s wrong?
7 . ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP a serious romantic relationship is likely to continue for a long time:
It’s serious – they’ve been seeing each other for six months.
Are you really serious about her?
8 . SPORT/ACTIVITY [only before noun] very interested in an activity or subject, and spending a lot of time doing it:
He’s become a serious golfer since he retired.
Chris is a serious photographer.
9 . VERY GOOD [only before noun] informal very good and often expensive:
He’s got a serious car!
10 . LARGE AMOUNT [only before noun] informal used to emphasize that you are talking about a large amount of something:
In industry, you can earn serious money.
• • •
▪ a serious problem
Vandalism is a serious problem in the area.
▪ a serious injury/illness
The driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
▪ a serious accident
He is recovering from a serious accident.
▪ serious damage
The explosion sparked a fire which caused serious damage to their flat.
▪ a serious threat
In the developed world, over-consumption is now a serious threat to health.
▪ a serious crime/offence
Kidnapping is a serious crime.
▪ serious trouble
The economy was in serious trouble.
▪ serious consequences
Neglecting to make a proper will can have serious consequences.
• • •
■ very bad
▪ serious very bad – used about problems, accidents, illnesses, or crimes:
Violent crime is a serious problem in and around the capital.
The boy was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
Fortunately, the damage to the car was not serious.
▪ severe very serious – used about problems, injuries, and illnesses:
He suffered severe injuries in a car crash.
The problem became so severe that they had to bring water in from other countries.
▪ grave used about a situation that is very serious and worrying, especially because it is dangerous or seems likely to get worse:
A thick fog descended and I knew that we were in grave danger.
The situation is grave – war now seems inevitable.
▪ acute used about an illness, problem, or situation that has become very serious or dangerous, and needs to be dealt with quickly:
She was taken to the hospital suffering from acute appendicitis.
In San Diego, the shortage of skilled workers is acute.
▪ desperate used about a situation or problem that is very serious or dangerous, especially because a lot of people need urgent help:
The situation is desperate – people here need aid before the harsh winter sets in.
The hospital is full of people in desperate need of medical attention.
▪ critical used about a situation that is very serious and dangerous and might get worse suddenly:
In 1991, the food supply situation became critical.
Eight people were killed and four are still in a critical condition.
▪ life-threatening used about a situation, illness, or condition in which someone could die:
Her child had a potentially life-threatening illness.
The situation was not life-threatening, but it was very worrying.
▪ be a matter of life and death spoken to be extremely serious – used when a situation is very urgent or important:
For people living with HIV, getting the right treatment is literally a matter of life and death.
■ not joking
▪ serious not joking or laughing, or not pretending:
His voice sounded serious.
They seem to be serious about their relationship.
▪ solemn very serious because of an important or sad occasion or ceremony:
My father looked solemn, the way grown-ups look at funerals.
The judge read the verdict in a solemn voice.
▪ grave written quiet and very serious – used especially about the way people look when something important or worrying happens:
She consulted Doctor Staples and returned looking grave.
He listened with a grave expression on his face.
▪ sombre British English ( also somber American English ) /ˈsɒmbə $ ˈsɑːmbər/ written sad, quiet, or serious because something unpleasant or worrying has happened or is going to happen:
They sat in sombre silence.
The meeting began in a sombre mood.
▪ earnest very serious and sincere – often used about someone who is young and not very experienced:
He was a rather earnest-looking young man.
‘That’s wrong,’ she said, her voice sounding very earnest.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012