Meaning of SERIOUS in English


I. ˈsirēəs, ˈsēr- adjective

Etymology: Middle English seryows, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French serieux, from Late Latin seriosus, alteration (influenced by Latin -osus -ous) of Latin serius; probably akin to Old English swǣr heavy, sad, Old High German swār, swāri, Old Norse svārr, Gothic swers respected, Lithuanian svarus heavy

1. : grave in disposition, appearance, or manner : not light, not gay, nor volatile

we were serious to the point of solemnity — James Joyce

her habitual expression was sedate and serious — Eric Linklater

such a stern and serious face — Charles Kingsley

will say facetious things in a most serious way — Harvey Breit


a. : demanding earnest application : requiring considerable care

work which has prevented me from any serious correspondence — H.J.Laski

settled down to the serious study of music — J.T.Howard

b. : addressed to grave moods — used especially of literature, drama, and music

serious books

a serious play

c. : demanding or intended to be accepted as sincerely and earnestly motivated

not a good work of art, but it is a serious work of art — Arnold Bennett

serious novelists

serious candidates


a. : being in earnest : not jesting, trifling, or deceiving

this observation was not serious . It was merely a trifle of affectionate malicious embroidery — Arnold Bennett

no serious antiquarian researches have been carried out — Norman Douglas

serious conversation

a serious question

b. archaic : earnest about religious matters

c. : deeply interested : devoted

if there are serious fishermen in your party — Jackson Rivers

a serious checker player

serious drinkers


a. : important , significant , emphatic

morning was sacred to serious tasks like sewing — Virginia Woolf

a drama — on which a serious amount of care has been spent by many — A.T.Quiller-Couch

take all the meals that would require any serious cooking in the nearest restaurant — G.B.Shaw

took serious exception to the theory — Irving Babbitt

the book is a serious disappointment — Geographical Journal


(1) : not easily answered or solved : weighty , difficult

leaders began to raise serious objections — C.E.Black & E.C.Helmreich

a serious problem

(2) : such as to call forth strong measures for combatting or rectifying

most of these systems are in a serious financial position — Economist

so serious a lack of knowledge — C.D.Forde

commodities which are not in serious competition with our dynamic home industry — R.S.Thoman

c. : such as to cause considerable distress, anxiety, or inconvenience : attended with danger

a serious injury

a serious accident

serious warfare broke out — R.A.Billington


grave , solemn , somber , sedate , staid , sober , earnest : serious suggests absorption in, concern about, or inclination to purposive or important work, deep thought, or earnest care rather than frivolity or levity

a serious book is one which holds before us some image of society to consider and condemn — Lionel Trilling

a serious student intent on learning

grave may imply both seriousness and dignity, often accompanied by suggestions of weighty interest and responsibilities

the slow, grave, simple, convinced tones with which she uttered the things that seemed to her the most worth while in life were more impressive than any arts of the orator — Havelock Ellis

his gravest tone, the one he reserved for his rare appearances in the federal appellate courts — Louis Auchincloss

solemn may indicate deep, serious impressiveness or awesomeness with utter lack of levity

holding the attorney's letter in his hand, and with so solemn and important an air that his wife, always ingeniously on the watch for calamity, thought the worst was about to befall — W.M.Thackeray

Sabbath was made a solemn day, meet only for preaching, praying, and Bible reading — C.A. & Mary Beard

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

slowly she swept into the somber rhythms … beginning so softly that the music was scarcely audible, climbing steadily toward a climax — Louis Bromfield

sedate implies accustomed, decorous seriousness and studied absence of insouciance or lightness

a professional army man is as sedate as a lawyer — Green Peyton

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 — Eric Linklater

staid indicates a settled, accustomed sedateness and self-restraint

most of the other cults had their public festivals, when the staid Roman citizen was repelled by the wild dances and the frenzied paeans — John Buchan

the older city of staid residences, spotless streets, and a homogeneous population, all overhung with a quickly felt aura of contentment and satisfaction — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

sober may apply to grave controlling or subduing of emotion or to serious concentrating on purpose

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

I never saw a soberer holiday crowd … it was almost sabbatarian in its decorousness — Robert Lynd

earnest suggests steady sincerity and intentness of purpose

an earnest student

many of the padres were scholars, and all were earnest in their endeavor to convert and civilize the natives — American Guide Series: Florida

II. adjective

: excessive or impressive in quantity, extent, or degree : considerable

making serious money

serious drinking

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.