serious

adjective
se·​ri·​ous | \ ˈsir-ē-əs How to pronounce serious (audio) \

Definition of serious

1 : thoughtful or subdued in appearance or manner : sober a quiet, serious girl
2a : requiring much thought or work serious study
b : of or relating to a matter of importance a serious play
3a : not joking or trifling : being in earnest a serious question
b archaic : pious
c : deeply interested : devoted a serious musician
4a : not easily answered or solved serious objections
b : having important or dangerous possible consequences a serious injury
5 : excessive or impressive in quality, quantity, extent, or degree serious stereo equipment making serious money serious drinking

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from serious

seriousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for serious

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

Examples of serious in a Sentence

“You sound terrible.” “It's just a bad cold. Nothing serious.” For my brother, not going to college was a serious mistake. Crime is a serious problem in this neighborhood. The team is a serious contender for the championship. If you want to quit smoking, you have to make a serious effort. They had a serious conversation about their relationship. a serious novel about modern life The story raises serious questions about our system of justice. Dog shows are a serious business. She is a serious cyclist who rides 200 miles each week.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Generally speaking, contact tracing is the process of identifying and notifying people who may have been exposed to a serious illness, including COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "'I'm so glad that I'm alive today': Robust contact tracing is saving lives of Apache tribal members," 19 Oct. 2020 Illness in children with Covid-19 is more serious and can include diarrhea or congestion as well as the loss of taste or smell, fatigue, headache and sore throat. Jim Morrison, Smithsonian Magazine, "Should Parents Test for Covid if Their Kid Might Just Have a Cold?," 19 Oct. 2020 His condition is unknown but is not believed to be serious, Frederick County Sheriff’s spokesman Todd Wivell told reporters on the scene. Washington Post, "Police fatally shoot man during pursuit of attempted homicide suspects in Md. Suspects fired at police, officials said.," 19 Oct. 2020 Contact tracing, generally, is the process of identifying and notifying people who may have been exposed to a serious illness, like COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, "'I'm so glad that I'm alive today': Robust contact tracing is saving lives of Apache tribal members," 18 Oct. 2020 That’s problematic, because those people spread the disease to those who are more susceptible to serious illness. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah’s coronavirus scoreboard tells the story of an insufficient health response, but a recovering economy," 17 Oct. 2020 Whether the latest numbers are the beginning of a surge or a random spike should put people on notice once again that COVID-19 is a serious illness, Strike said. Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune, "Minnesota reports 29 COVID-19 deaths, new antigen test data," 15 Oct. 2020 The pain, though, spreads far beyond smaller communities to larger facilities treating some of those most at risk for serious illness. Lauren Coleman-lochner, Bloomberg.com, "Shaky U.S. Hospitals Risk Bankruptcy in Latest Covid Wave," 14 Oct. 2020 It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito, although only 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal illness. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Clark Middleton, actor on The Blacklist and Twin Peaks, dies at 63," 6 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'serious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of serious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for serious

Middle English seryows, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French serious, from Late Latin seriosus, alteration of Latin serius weighty, serious; probably akin to Old English swǣr heavy, sad

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about serious

Time Traveler for serious

Time Traveler

The first known use of serious was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for serious

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Serious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/serious. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for serious

serious

adjective
How to pronounce serious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of serious

: having an important or dangerous possible result
: involving or deserving a lot of thought, attention, or work
: giving a lot of attention or energy to something

serious

adjective
se·​ri·​ous | \ ˈsir-ē-əs How to pronounce serious (audio) \

Kids Definition of serious

1 : not joking or funny a serious drama
2 : being such as to cause distress or harm a serious accident
3 : thoughtful or quiet in appearance or manner a serious person
4 : requiring much thought or work a serious task

Other Words from serious

seriousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for serious

serious, solemn, and earnest mean not funny or not playful. serious means being concerned or seeming to be concerned about really important things. He's a serious student. solemn is used for dignity along with complete seriousness. The preacher is always very solemn. earnest means that someone is sincere and has serious intentions. She's an earnest, diligent student.

serious

adjective
se·​ri·​ous | \ ˈsir-ē-əs How to pronounce serious (audio) \

Medical Definition of serious

: having important or dangerous possible consequences a serious injury

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on serious

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!