somber

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

Essential Meaning of somber

formal
1 : very sad and serious Her death put us in a somber mood. The movie is a somber portrait of life on the streets.
2 : having a dull or dark color He wore a somber suit.

Full 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 mostly somber movie is occasionally jolted by surreal, horrific scenes from the Abu Ghraib prison. Jim Kiest, San Antonio Express-News, 14 Oct. 2021 Overall, this episode ends on a pretty somber, karmic note. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, 22 Sep. 2021 Smart, who received a standing ovation, began her acceptance speech on a somber note: Her husband actor, Richard Gilliland, died six months ago. Lynn Elber, chicagotribune.com, 20 Sep. 2021 Smart, who received a standing ovation, began her acceptance speech on a somber note: Her husband actor, Richard Gilliland, died six months ago. Lynn Elber, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Sep. 2021 Smart, who received a standing ovation, began her acceptance speech on a somber note: Her husband, actor Richard Gilliland, died six months ago. Dallas News, 20 Sep. 2021 Smart, who received a standing ovation, began her acceptance speech on a somber note: Her husband actor, Richard Gilliland, died six months ago. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Sep. 2021 After a thrashing of rain and devastating flooding from Hurricane Ida added a somber note to the last few days of summer, which officially comes to an end on Labor Day, cooler temperatures and a conflicted sense of new beginnings are in the air. Celia Ellenberg, Vogue, 3 Sep. 2021 The commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks were especially somber, and not just because memories of that day remain so searing. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2021

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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Learn More About somber

Dictionary Entries Near somber

-somatous

somber

sombra

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Statistics for somber

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Somber.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/somber. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for somber

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

More from Merriam-Webster on somber

Nglish: Translation of somber for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of somber for Arabic Speakers

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