Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Deeply earnest, serious, and sober.
  • adj. Somberly or gravely impressive. See Synonyms at serious.
  • adj. Performed with full ceremony: a solemn High Mass.
  • adj. Invoking the force of religion; sacred: a solemn vow.
  • adj. Gloomy; somber.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Deeply serious and somber.
  • adj. Somberly impressive.
  • adj. Performed with great ceremony.
  • adj. Sacred.
  • adj. Gloomy or sombre.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Marked with religious rites and pomps; enjoined by, or connected with, religion; sacred.
  • adj. Pertaining to a festival; festive; festal.
  • adj. Stately; ceremonious; grand.
  • adj. Fitted to awaken or express serious reflections; marked by seriousness; serious; grave; devout.
  • adj. Real; earnest; downright.
  • adj. Affectedly grave or serious.
  • adj. Made in form; ceremonious; ; conforming with all legal requirements.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Recurring yearly; annual.
  • Marked by religious rites or ceremonious observances; connected with religion; sacred; also, marked by special ritual or ceremony.
  • Pertaining to holiday; festive; joyous.
  • Of high repute; important; dignified.
  • Fitted to excite or express serious or devout reflections; grave; impressive; awe-inspiring: as, a solemn pile of buildings.
  • Marked by seriousness or earnestness in language or demeanor; impressive; grave: as, to make a solemn promise; a solemn utterance.
  • Affectedly grave, serious, or important: as, to put on a solemn face.
  • Accompanied with all due forms or ceremonies; made in form; formal; regular: now chiefly a law term: as, probate in solemn form.
  • Sober; gloomy; dark: noting color or tint.
  • Synonyms August, venerable, grand, stately.
  • Serious, etc. (see grave), reverential, sober.
  • To solemnize.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by a firm and humorless belief in the validity of your opinions
  • adj. dignified and somber in manner or character and committed to keeping promises

Etymologies

Middle English solemne, from Old French, from Latin sollemnis, established, customary; see sol- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English solemne, from Old French solempne, from Late Latin sōlennis and sōlempnis, from Latin sōlemnis, from sollemnis ("ritual; festive, solemn, customary, celebrated at a fixed date"), from sollus ("entire"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But he gave what he called a solemn pledge: "We will hold ourselves responsible to do what it takes, as long as it takes, to stop this catastrophe, to repair the damage and to keep this region on its feet."

    Effort to Plug Well Hangs in Balance

  • His expression solemn, he pulled the strip of plaid from behind his shoulder and draped the end over their joined hands.

    Ransom

  • This opening round of hospitality completed, he seemed at a loss, his expression solemn.

    Remember Me, Irene

  • Bradford nodded, trying his damnedest to keep his expression solemn.

    Rebellious Desire

  • "That's what I call a solemn promise," exclaimed Tom, as Nanny concluded the prescribed speech.

    Harper's Young People, February 10, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

  • She even laid aside her usual quiet undemonstrativeness, and petted and made much of me, though she laughed a little at what she called my solemn face.

    Esther : a book for girls

  • On Monday, the Family Leader released a response by Mr. Gingrich, who gave what he called a solemn vow "to defend and strengthen the family."

    NYT > Home Page

  • Earlier we told you that Limbaugh - in what he called a solemn tribute - honored the late Gordon Dancy.

    Latest Articles

  • In empires of eternal form, he never lived, a marble bust, in solemn air, august in strife, inert and noble, wreathed in gilt of autumn leaves.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • "You win," he said in solemn ecstasy, and passed his arms around her.

    CHAPTER XIII

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