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

Which leads to an intriguing question: Given the sobering reality that those unbiased statistics convey, why has the wealthy-welder myth become so widely accepted, at least in certain circles? Paul Tough, The Atlantic, "The Myth of the Wealthy Welder," 13 Sep. 2019 This sobering reality makes the 35-year-old's brave decision to go public with her battle all the more impactful. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Alexa Chung Reveals Her Battle With Endometriosis—And Taps Into an Empowering Online Community," 18 July 2019 Looking at that relationship between energy’s weight and the oil price over the long term reveals a sobering trend for the industry. Washington Post, "Even Boone Pickens Is Falling Out of Love With Oil," 18 Sep. 2019 They’d recently been given a sobering piece of advice by an executive who was a woman of color, and who had witnessed the fluctuating fortunes of black cinema since the nineties. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Constance Wu’s Hollywood Destiny," 16 Sep. 2019 Wayne McGahee III of the Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State’s debacle of a victory over Louisiana-Monroe provides a sobering look at the FSU program. oregonlive, "UO Ducks make Nevada suffer, OSU Beavers collapse and the Pac-12 takes another hit: Issues & Answers," 8 Sep. 2019 And the results, unfortunately, reflect these sobering statistics. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Hurricane Dorian’s winds were as powerful as Colorado’s strongest recorded tornado," 7 Sep. 2019 Those sobering statistics are of concern to home builders because jobs are a key driver of the new home construction — and home sale — market. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "New home construction rises in Connecticut in 2018, but what’s holding back more impressive gains?," 27 July 2019 That’s a sobering statistic for a labor market projected over the next decade to have a wide gap between the number of available jobs and the supply of labor with the right post-secondary credentials to fill them. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "Indy employers are facing a deep talent shortage. Here’s one way they’re fighting it.," 23 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of sobering

1816, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sobering

Dictionary Entries near sobering

so being

so be it






Statistics for sobering

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sobering

The first known use of sobering was in 1816

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sobering



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

Comments on sobering

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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