somber

adjective
som·​ber | \ ˈsäm-bər \
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

This past weekend, Meghan and Harry marked Remembrance Day on Saturday and Sunday at a number of somber events. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears a Chic White Dress in New Portraits for Prince Charles's 70th Birthday," 13 Nov. 2018 Raden’s website now features nothing but a somber goodbye note; its Instagram is frozen in time. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "When the “best” busts: the spectacular rise and fall of smart luggage startup Raden," 12 Dec. 2018 Whitney Houston death adds a somber note to the Grammys. Town & Country, "12 of the Most Scandalous Grammy Moments of All Time," 10 Feb. 2017 Democrats, by and large, were somber, withdrawn, and almost tearful, while Republicans appeared positively ebullient. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "12 senators on what kind of message Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation sends to America’s women," 7 Oct. 2018 Sandy Hook Elementary is not sad, or somber, or broken. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "How Newtown Came Back," 1 Aug. 2018 His players were at his back, at the other end of the field, applauding their fans, commiserating with them, the mood proud but somber, stony faces and distant eyes. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 The results can be fascinatingly difficult to pin down: obscure, straightforward, happy, somber, modern and old-fashioned all at once—and often veer into weirdness. Sidney Lawrence, WSJ, "A Muse Embedded in Mystery," 22 June 2018 Another 1968 portrait by Gardner Cox, also on view at the museum, depicts RFK sitting, somber, a man buried in thought. Alice George, Smithsonian, "On the Eve of his Death, Robert Kennedy Was a Whirlwind of Empathy and Internal Strife," 7 June 2018

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

3 Feb 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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