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

  • adj. Grave in quality or manner: gave me a serious look.
  • adj. Carried out in earnest: engaged in serious drinking; serious study of Italian.
  • adj. Deeply interested or involved: a serious card player.
  • adj. Designed for and addressing grave and earnest tastes: serious art; serious music.
  • adj. Not trifling or jesting: I'm serious: we expect you to complete the assignment on time. Her question was serious enough to deserve a thoughtful response.
  • adj. Informal Of considerable size or scope; substantial: a cleanup that cost serious money.
  • adj. Of such character or quality as to appeal to the expert, the connoisseur, or the sophisticate: "Every serious kitchen needs at least one peppermill” ( Washington Post).
  • adj. Concerned with important rather than trivial matters: a serious student of history.
  • adj. Being of such import as to cause anxiety: serious injuries; a serious turn of events.
  • adj. Too complex to be easily answered or solved: raised some serious objections to the proposal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Without humor or expression of happiness; grave in manner or disposition; earnest; thoughtful; solemn.
  • adj. Important; weighty; not trifling; leaving no room for play; needing great attention; critical.
  • adj. Really intending what is said; being in earnest; not jesting or deceiving; meaningful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Grave in manner or disposition; earnest; thoughtful; solemn; not light, gay, or volatile.
  • adj. Really intending what is said; being in earnest; not jesting or deceiving.
  • adj. Important; weighty; not trifling; grave.
  • adj. Hence, giving rise to apprehension; attended with danger.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Grave in feeling, manner, or disposition; solemn; earnest; not light, gay, or volatile; of things, springing from, expressing, or inducing gravity or earnestness of feeling.
  • In earnest; not jesting or making pretense.
  • Important; weighty; not trifling.
  • Attended with danger; giving rise to apprehension: as, a serious illness.
  • Deeply impressed with the importance of religion; making profession of or pretension to religion.
  • Synonyms Solemn, etc. See grave.
  • 1 and Sedate, staid, sober, earnest.
  • Great, momentous.

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

  • adj. completely lacking in playfulness
  • adj. concerned with work or important matters rather than play or trivialities
  • adj. requiring effort or concentration; complex and not easy to answer or solve
  • adj. of great consequence
  • adj. appealing to the mind
  • adj. causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm


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

Middle English, from Old French serieux, from Late Latin sēriōsus, from Latin sērius.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English seryows, from Old French serieux, from Medieval Latin sēriōsus, an extension of Latin sērius ("grave, earnest, serious"), from Proto-Indo-European *swēr- (“heavy”). Cognate with German schwer ("heavy, difficult, severe"), Old English swǣr ("heavy, grave, grievous"). More at swear, sweer.


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