solemn

adjective
sol·​emn | \ˈsä-ləm \

Definition of solemn 

1 : marked by the invocation of a religious sanction a solemn oath

2 : marked by the observance of established form or ceremony specifically : celebrated with full liturgical ceremony

3a : awe-inspiring : sublime solemn beauty

b : marked by grave sedateness and earnest sobriety a solemn gathering

c : somber, gloomy a solemn gray building

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Other Words from solemn

solemnly adverb
solemnness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for solemn

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 solemn in a Sentence

The women running the office where I was given immunizations and completed more paperwork said they had a young friend back in the District who would love my British accent. They were going to call her this very instant, they teased, and then I'd have a companion for the evening. They also talked in more solemn tones about all the brave men and women who came through the base and then shipped off to Iraq. — Willem Marx, Harper's, September 2006 Caesar was slaughtered in a sanctified space, his body was sacrosanct since he held the position of supreme pontiff, and his assassins had recently taken a solemn oath to protect his life with their own. Yet none of this seems to have figured prominently in the charges that were laid against his killers. — Robert Garland, History Today, February 2004 The testimony may well have had serious judicial consequences, even lethal ones, but its style is so glum and flat-footed that it gives an impression not of solemn majesty but of grotesque comedy … — Jonathan Ree, Times Literary Supplement, 13 Aug. 2004 To the vast majority of people in this Muslim nation of 145 million, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, not war and hatred. It requires that women dress modestly, but not make themselves invisible. Its mosques are solemn and silent, but its shrines are relaxed and colorful. Its liturgy says Islam should be spread by persuasion, not by force … — Pamela Constable, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2001 He spoke in a solemn and thoughtful manner. He wore a very solemn expression on his face. He recited the poem in a solemn voice. A solemn crowd gathered around the grave. We made a solemn promise to love each other forever.
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Recent Examples on the Web

On June 8, D’Alesandro was among a throng of Marylanders paying solemn, and silent, tribute to Robert Kennedy as the train carrying his body passed through Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station on its way to Washington. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "As May 1968 drew to a close, enthusiasm for Robert Kennedy's presidential bid was growing in Maryland," 23 May 2018 Opposing counsel is a fellow member of the bar fulfilling a solemn duty, just like you. Katie Reilly, Time, "Rod Rosenstein Tells Law Graduates to Fall Back on ‘Your Own Moral Principles’ During Ethical Dilemmas," 11 May 2018 But there have long been some efforts to separate the solemn anniversary from political campaigns. Jennifer Peltz And Karen Matthews, Fox News, "US marks 9/11 with somber tributes; Trump speaks at PA site," 12 Sep. 2018 Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic Tuesday morning as a sea of uniformed fire department and police officers lined the street in solemn tribute. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "A ‘Firefighter’s Firefighter’ Is Remembered During Funeral at St. Patrick’s," 27 Mar. 2018 The Cannes red carpet is largely a solemn parade of gorgeous, poofy gowns and various Hadid’s legs. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Kristen Stewart Continues Battling Cannes’ Dress Code," 15 May 2018 Again, the opening movement, with its lengthy introduction, was given with great care for texture and counterpoint, while the solemn tread of the Allegretto and its crescendo to an Everest-like sonic summit was managed beautifully. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra keeps the flame burning as 'The Prometheus Project' continues (review)," 14 May 2018 Kate and William’s wedding was solemn, stately, stuffy, full of dignitaries, politicians, and the sort of boring personages known here as the great and the good. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "‘Stand by Me’: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Married," 20 May 2018 Meanwhile, the abundance of beautiful women depicted in moody reverie feeds a popular expectation that art of feeling must be solemn, if not sad. Charles Desmarais, SFChronicle.com, "‘Truth and Beauty’ at Legion of Honor: Pure visual pleasure of an idiosyncratic style," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solemn.' 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 solemn

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for solemn

Middle English solempne, from Anglo-French, from Latin sollemnis regularly appointed, solemn

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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The first known use of solemn was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for solemn

solemn

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of solemn

: very serious or formal in manner, behavior, or expression

: sad and serious

: done or made sincerely

solemn

adjective
sol·​emn | \ˈsä-ləm \

Kids Definition of solemn

1 : very serious or formal in manner, behavior, or expression a solemn procession a solemn face

2 : done or made seriously and thoughtfully a solemn promise

Other Words from solemn

solemnly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on solemn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with solemn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solemn

Spanish Central: Translation of solemn

Nglish: Translation of solemn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solemn for Arabic Speakers

Comments on solemn

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