somber

adjective

som·​ber ˈsäm-bər How to pronounce somber (audio)
variants or sombre
1
: so shaded as to be dark and gloomy
2
a
: 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
somberly adverb
somberness noun

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web With lush colors and areas of radiance in which her subjects' body parts seem to glow, Khosravi's artworks aren't somber, but luminous. Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, 2 Nov. 2022 Trebek died shortly after, and the mood was somber when Jennings arrived to the set. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2022 The mood in the postgame visiting locker room was somber. Tyler Dragon, USA TODAY, 17 Oct. 2022 While there is some positive recent news, the mood is still somber for many. Amy Spieth, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 The father and son, who represent the present and future of the British monarchy, were somber in military uniform for the day's first and most formal funeral event. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 19 Sep. 2022 The next day, many of the kids who were somber after the movie were belly-laughing with friends over breakfast in the dining hall. Andrea Stanley, The Atlantic, 30 Aug. 2022 In contrast to the public anger and denunciations that have marked most council meetings since the May 24 mass shooting, Tuesday night’s was more somber. Claire Bryan, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Aug. 2022 For the last several weeks, Clark said the atmosphere at the clinic was somber. al, 27 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

French sombre

First Known Use

1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of somber was in 1760

Dictionary Entries Near somber

Cite this Entry

“Somber.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/somber. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

somber

adjective

som·​ber
variants or sombre
1
: so shaded as to be dark and gloomy
2
3
: dull or dark colored
somberly adverb
somberness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on somber

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