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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

This happens several times, a fantastic climax to what is a mostly solemn, contemplative piece. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Momenta’s ‘Counter Balance’ has ingenious duets and wheelchair dance, as well as some unnecessary fluff," 9 Sep. 2019 Then, an official with the Indian Space Research Organization made a solemn announcement. NBC News, "India's space agency loses contact with craft moments before moon landing," 6 Sep. 2019 This solemn American observance of Christmas continued until Irish and German immigrants began to make their way across the Atlantic and establish their own traditions and regulations despite the Puritan rule. Country Living, "The History of the Christmas Tree Goes Back Farther Than You Might Realize," 4 Sep. 2019 The day included a patriotic dog parade, a big birthday cake, a solemn closing ceremony with an American Legion Honor Guard and a fireworks display to cap it all off. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Avon Lake closes out bicentennial year with July 4 city celebration," 8 July 2019 The day has long been marked by solemn parades and ceremonies and the placing of flowers on the graves of fallen service members, as well as lighter activities like sporting events. Brian Clark Howard And Sydney Combs, National Geographic, "Memorial Day's controversial history explained," 24 May 2019 The event kicked off May 2 with a solemn but colorful parade of flags and heraldry. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "For These Sword-Wielding Warriors, Medieval Battles Live On," 27 Aug. 2019 This year marks the 400th anniversary of slavery in America and groups across the country are gathering to reflect on the solemn occasion. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for August 26: G7 Summit, 2020 race, Amazon, military suicides, slavery," 26 Aug. 2019 The space is austere and solemn, with beige walls and icy climate control. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about solemn

Statistics for solemn

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for solemn

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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