so·​ber·​ing | \ ˈsō-b(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce sobering (audio) \

Definition of sobering

: tending to make one thoughtful or sober

Examples of sobering in a Sentence

His death is a sobering reminder of the dangers of mountaineering.
Recent Examples on the Web Those interviews tap into a sobering array of voices weighing in on how political considerations lead to an ineffective response, juxtaposing the US with South Korea. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Totally Under Control' dissects failures in the US coronavirus response," 13 Oct. 2020 The Petri dish that is the White House Rose Garden has been a sobering reminder that there are no shortcuts for COVID-19’s incubation period. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL put players exposed to COVID on plane. What did it think was going to happen?," 7 Oct. 2020 No one is immune Last week's extraordinary revelation that President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus offered a sobering reminder of how serious COVID-19 is. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "COVID Watch: Cancer and the coronavirus are twin risks during this pandemic," 5 Oct. 2020 The world officially recorded 1 million deaths from Covid-19 in one of the most sobering milestones of the pandemic, but the real tally might be almost double that. Lisa Du,, "As Covid Deaths Hit 1 Million, Scientist Says Toll May be Double," 24 Sep. 2020 It’s a sobering and even-handed discussion on climate that does not include apocalyptic endings for the planet. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "Uncommon Knowledge: “False Alarm” on Climate Hysteria," 12 Aug. 2020 The mixed results come as the President joined the more than 7.3 million people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US, a sobering reminder of the virus' reach as health experts urge continued vigilance during the fall and winter months. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "New coronavirus cases are on the decline in only three US states," 4 Oct. 2020 The news that the coronavirus has infected one of the most powerful people on the planet should serve as a sobering reminder that this pandemic knows no politics and respects no borders. Richard E. Besser, Scientific American, "COVID in the White House Should be America's Wake-Up Call," 2 Oct. 2020 Playing seven games when others play eight, nine or 10 is a sobering admission. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Pac-12 Conference unified football decision is both a beauty and a curse," 25 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of sobering

1816, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sobering was in 1816

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Statistics for sobering

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sobering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce sobering (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sobering

: making you feel serious and thoughtful

More from Merriam-Webster on sobering

Britannica English: Translation of sobering for Arabic Speakers

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