somber

adjective
som·​ber | \ ˈsäm-bər How to pronounce somber (audio) \
variants: or sombre

Definition of somber

1 : so shaded as to be dark and gloomy
2a : of a serious mien : grave somber dignitaries
b : of a dismal or depressing character : melancholy
c : conveying gloomy suggestions or ideas
3 : of a dull or heavy cast or shade : dark colored

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Other Words from somber

somberly adverb
somberness noun

Examples of somber in a Sentence

Looking out at his audience, a somber mass of monks, Gregory gave Mary a new identity that would shape her image for fourteen hundred years. — Jonathan Darman, Newsweek, 29 May 2006 This year marks a somber anniversary—it was 150 years ago that humans wiped out the last survivors of this species. A relative of the razorbills and puffins, and about the size of a small goose, the great auk was black-bodied with a white underbelly, and walked erect, like a penguin. — Bill Montevecchi, Natural History, August 1994 The purple darkness was filled with men who lectured and jabbered. Sometimes he could see them gesticulating against the blue and somber sky. — Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage, 1895 Her death put us in a somber mood. The movie is a somber portrait of life on the streets. He wore a somber suit.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The home dugout had been relatively somber early the game. Dennis Lin, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres, Sanchez walk off against Giants," 15 July 2017 Shops closed their doors and theatrical performances cancelled in honor of the royal's death; Christmas, just over a week after Albert's passing, was a somber affair throughout the kingdom that year. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How Did Queen Victoria's Husband Prince Albert Die?," 4 Mar. 2019 And look at this here, Pence comes out to receive the remains in a very somber and important and historical ceremony. Fox News, "Diamond & Silk sound off on Chicago violence," 12 Aug. 2018 Normally, this briefing is a somber occasion: Secrets are revealed for the first time, and the nominee traditionally listens respectfully and keeps all details of the meeting confidential. James Bamford, The New Republic, "Anti-Intelligence," 19 Mar. 2018 Ash Wednesday is a somber occasion that marks the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent observed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestant faiths. Laura Demarco, cleveland.com, "Ash Wednesday is Valentine's Day this year: How should Christians celebrate?," 11 Jan. 2018 Kylie is obviously upset about everything, and now, even her selfies have been more somber. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods' Friendship," 21 Feb. 2019 The mood was somber, as the whole nation mourned the death of their sovereign. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Heartbreaking Way Queen Elizabeth II Learned About the Death of Her Father, King George VI," 1 Feb. 2019 Champagne or no, New Year’s Eve must have been a somber affair for China’s top leadership, with word that manufacturing activity declined in December for the first time since 2016. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China Is Getting Bubbles, Not Growth, for New Year’s," 2 Jan. 2019

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

1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for somber

French sombre

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Statistics for somber

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for somber

The first known use of somber was in 1760

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More Definitions for somber

somber

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of somber

formal
: very sad and serious
: having a dull or dark color

somber

adjective
som·​ber
variants: or sombre \ ˈsäm-​bər \

Kids Definition of somber

1 : very sad or serious a somber mood somber news
2 : being dark and gloomy : dull somber colors

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More from Merriam-Webster on somber

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with somber

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for somber

Spanish Central: Translation of somber

Nglish: Translation of somber for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of somber for Arabic Speakers

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