so·ber·ing | \ˈsō-b(ə-)riŋ \

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

World Refugee Day this year provided a sobering reminder of how easily the world’s great powers can turn their backs on those fleeing war, persecution and poverty. Alf Dubs, Time, "I Fled the Nazis as a Child Refugee. Trump's Border Policy Echoes Europe's Darkest Days," 21 June 2018 These events are a sobering reminder that IPOs, which are fundraising events at their core, don’t always communicate internal confidence in a company's financial performance. Cherie Hu, Billboard, "More Music Tech Companies Mulling IPO After Spotify's Smooth Debut -- But Is It Really a Good Idea?," 12 Apr. 2018 But the euphoria surrounding a historic democratic transition has given way to a more sobering reality. New York Times, "Mahathir Mohamad, Leading Malaysia Again at 92, Is on a Mission," 14 June 2018 Time has seen tree roots overtake the stonework, and the resulting sylvan maze is equal parts post-apocalyptic fantasy and a sobering reminder of our humanity. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days in Siem Reap," 16 Apr. 2018 These sobering statistics were included in a report presented this month at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee meeting in Bled, Slovenia. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Japan Killed 112 Pregnant Whales in the Name of Scientific Research," 30 May 2018 At a time when Hollywood is reckoning with calls for greater inclusivity, the historic aspect of Oh’s nomination serves as another sobering reminder of the industry’s deep-rooted diversity problem. Yvonne Villarreal,, "The complete list of 2018 Emmy nominees," 12 July 2018 Combined with other high-profile Russian hacking from 2017, like the NotPetya ransomware attacks, the grid penetrations were a sobering revelation. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The Worst Cybersecurity Breaches of 2018 So Far," 9 July 2018 With a small piece of the Orlando City franchise selling at a price that values the whole at $490 million, future MLS expansion figures to entail a sobering dose of sticker shock. Timothy Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "James O'Connor's move from LouCity wasn't ideal, but likely inevitable," 1 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near sobering

so being

so be it






Statistics for sobering

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for sobering

The first known use of sobering was in 1816

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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