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adjective so·ber \ˈsō-bər\

Simple Definition of sober

  • : not drunk

  • : having or showing a very serious attitude or quality

  • : plain in color

Full Definition of sober

so·ber·er play \-bər-ər\ so·ber·est play \-b(ə-)rəst\

  1. 1a :  sparing in the use of food and drink :  abstemiousb :  not addicted to intoxicating drinkc :  not drunk

  2. 2 :  marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor

  3. 3 :  unhurried, calm

  4. 4 :  marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness <a sober candlelight vigil>

  5. 5 :  subdued in tone or color

  6. 6 :  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice

so·ber·ly play \-bər-lē\ adverb
so·ber·ness noun

Examples of sober

  1. I'm driving, so I have to stay sober tonight.

  2. He is a sober, hardworking farmer.

  3. The story is a sober look at drug abuse.

  4. Illness is a sober reminder of our mortality.

  5. The article is a sober reflection on the state of our nation.

Origin of sober

Middle English sobre, from Anglo-French, from Latin sobrius; akin to Latin ebrius drunk

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of sober

serious, grave, solemn, sedate, staid, sober, earnest mean not light or frivolous. serious implies a concern for what really matters <a serious play about social injustice>. grave implies both seriousness and dignity in expression or attitude <read the proclamation in a grave voice>. solemn suggests an impressive gravity utterly free from levity <a sad and solemn occasion>. sedate implies a composed and decorous seriousness <remained sedate amid the commotion>. staid suggests a settled, accustomed sedateness and prim self-restraint <a quiet and staid community>. sober stresses seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity <a sober look at the state of our schools>. earnest suggests sincerity or often zealousness of purpose <an earnest reformer>.

Other Drug/Tobacco Terms

Rhymes with sober



verb so·ber

Simple Definition of sober

  • : to make (someone) serious or thoughtful

Full Definition of sober

so·beredso·ber·ing play \-b(ə-)riŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make sober

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to become sober —usually used with up

Examples of sober

  1. He returned home from the war, saddened and sobered by his experiences.

14th Century

First Known Use of sober

14th century

Other Drug/Tobacco Terms

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sober? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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