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

In a series of borderline or even unfettered caricatures, Nettles' revelatory performance in the flashback fifth episode becomes a humanizing fulcrum, fueling Goodman's solemn turn and helping to make sense of the other Gemstones. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Righteous Gemstones': TV Review," 8 Aug. 2019 Courtesy of Gensler There’s a solemn air around Notre-Dame these days. Anne Quito, Quartz, "A design proposal for Notre-Dame reveals the changing function of churches," 3 Aug. 2019 One man picked up a newspaper from the ground and stared at a solemn portrait of the governor. Los Angeles Times, "‘I feel indignation, pure indignation’: Thousands of Puerto Ricans mass for protest against governor," 22 July 2019 Handmaids Against Trump, a women’s rights group, stood dressed in red cloaks and white hats, with solemn expressions. Madeline Roache, Time, "While Thousands March, President Trump Dismisses London Protests as 'Fake News'," 4 June 2019 State television largely ignored Tuesday’s gathering in Kemerovo’s central square, focusing instead on Mr. Putin’s visit to a hospital ward and his solemn expressions of condolences. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Putin’s Grim Reality: Public Fury Over Children’s Deaths in Mall," 27 Mar. 2018 State television largely ignored Tuesday’s gathering in Kemerovo’s central square, focusing instead on Putin’s visit to a hospital ward and his solemn expressions of condolences. Andrew Higgins, BostonGlobe.com, "For Putin, mall fire is bigger headache than diplomatic feud with West," 27 Mar. 2018 Pose director Janet Mock attended, and Pose star Indya Moore spoke, makeup-less and solemn under the gray sky. Mankaprr Conteh, Vogue, "How Layleen Cubilette-Polanco’s Family, the House of Xtravaganza, and Activists Are Mourning and Organizing a Month After Her Death," 12 July 2019 The solemn atmosphere remained as the 26 bodies were unloaded from the ship before anyone else was allowed to disembark. Abigail Haworth, Marie Claire, "The Lost Daughters of Salerno," 1 July 2019

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

16 Aug 2019

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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 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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