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adjective som·ber \ˈsäm-bər\

Simple Definition of somber

  • : very sad and serious

  • : having a dull or dark color

Full Definition of somber

  1. 1 :  so shaded as to be dark and gloomy

  2. 2a :  of a serious mien :  grave <somber dignitaries>b :  of a dismal or depressing character :  melancholyc :  conveying gloomy suggestions or ideas

  3. 3 :  of a dull or heavy cast or shade :  dark colored

som·ber·ly adverb
som·ber·ness noun

Examples of somber

  1. Looking out at his audience, a somber mass of monks, Gregory gave Mary a new identity that would shape her image for fourteen hundred years. —Jonathan Darman, Newsweek, 29 May 2006

  2. This year marks a somber anniversary—it was 150 years ago that humans wiped out the last survivors of this species. A relative of the razorbills and puffins, and about the size of a small goose, the great auk was black-bodied with a white underbelly, and walked erect, like a penguin. —Bill Montevecchi, Natural History, August 1994

  3. The purple darkness was filled with men who lectured and jabbered. Sometimes he could see them gesticulating against the blue and somber sky. —Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage, 1895

  4. Her death put us in a somber mood.

  5. The movie is a somber portrait of life on the streets.

  6. He wore a somber suit.

Variants of somber

or som·bre play \ˈsäm-bər\

Origin of somber

French sombre

First Known Use: 1760

Rhymes with somber

Seen and Heard

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


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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