1
as in solemn
not joking or playful in mood or manner I'm serious when I say that no one should be walking in that neighborhood at night

Synonyms & Similar Words

Relevance

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

2
3

Synonym Chooser

How is the word serious different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of serious are earnest, grave, sedate, sober, solemn, and staid. While all these words mean "not light or frivolous," serious implies a concern for what really matters.

a serious play about social injustice

In what contexts can earnest take the place of serious?

Although the words earnest and serious have much in common, earnest suggests sincerity or often zealousness of purpose.

an earnest reformer

When would grave be a good substitute for serious?

While in some cases nearly identical to serious, grave implies both seriousness and dignity in expression or attitude.

read the proclamation in a grave voice

When is it sensible to use sedate instead of serious?

While the synonyms sedate and serious are close in meaning, sedate implies a composed and decorous seriousness.

remained sedate amid the commotion

Where would sober be a reasonable alternative to serious?

The words sober and serious are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, sober stresses seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity.

a sober look at the state of our schools

When might solemn be a better fit than serious?

The synonyms solemn and serious are sometimes interchangeable, but solemn suggests an impressive gravity utterly free from levity.

a sad and solemn occasion

When is staid a more appropriate choice than serious?

In some situations, the words staid and serious are roughly equivalent. However, staid suggests a settled, accustomed sedateness and prim self-restraint.

a quiet and staid community

Thesaurus Entries Near serious

Cite this Entry

“Serious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/serious. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on serious

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ