solemn

adjective
sol·​emn | \ ˈsä-ləm How to pronounce solemn (audio) \

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

This is the grand ritual of May — the caps and gowns, the solemn processions, the faculty in exotic capes and hoods, a bit medieval. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, "No lovelier time in SF than May, when spring is in full bloom," 4 May 2018 Others held cell phones, recording the solemn procession below. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Nogales mourns officer killed in line of duty, leaving behind 3 kids and pregnant fiancee," 28 Apr. 2018 Trump observed the solemn anniversary for the first time as president last year. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Trump to mark 17 years since Sept. 11 at Pennsylvania field," 10 Sep. 2018 The solemn procession of home fans was a marked contrast from the colorful festival of chaotic tropical spirit put up by the Latin American teams before matches here. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Russia’s World Cup Team Gets a Reality Check," 25 June 2018 On Monday evening, Lauren shared a solemn statement with fans confirming their split. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "American Idol's Lauren Alaina Calls Off Engagement to Longtime Boyfriend Alex Hopkins," 22 Jan. 2019 Her mother is still on the other side of the globe, caring for Rae’s grandmother in a shadow story, a solemn and uncertain leave-taking. Karen Russell, The New Yorker, "Orange World," 4 June 2017 The service Thursday was solemn but interspersed with family stories and, at times, laughter. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "George H.W. Bush Mourned in Houston Memorial Service," 6 Dec. 2018 Following the solemn appearance, the couple received gifts for their children including little LCFC jerseys with their names on the back. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Just Gave an Adorable Update on Prince Louis," 29 Nov. 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

29 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for solemn

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 How to pronounce solemn (audio) \

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

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