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

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 Production at the facility was halted in February after four infants drinking formula manufactured at the facility had fallen ill with rare and serious bacterial infections. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 17 May 2022 None of the children were hurt, but the driver of the car had suffered a serious injury, police said. Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant, 17 May 2022 The Novavax vaccine does not seem to induce the rare but potentially serious type of heart inflammation associated with the mRNA vaccines. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2022 Braden, the third patient, had the most serious injury: a gunshot wound to the lower leg. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 16 May 2022 In the opening minutes of the Philadelphia 76ers' Game 6 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday night, swingman Danny Green suffered what was feared to be a serious knee injury. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 14 May 2022 The most serious injury among the demonstrators apparently was suffered by Donald Gustafson, of 958 Neptune Ave., Encinitas. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 May 2022 But if Roe is reversed, the state's trigger law would ban all abortions except to prevent death or serious injury of the mother. Aria Bendix, NBC News, 11 May 2022 Actress Katherine Kelly Lang is recovering from surgery after sustaining a serious injury while horseback riding. Charmaine Patterson,, 10 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Serious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for serious


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.


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

Medical Definition of serious

: having important or dangerous possible consequences a serious injury

More from Merriam-Webster on serious

Nglish: Translation of serious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of serious for Arabic Speakers


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