Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Careful in thought, full of concern, or restrained and dignified in manner; somber or grave.
  • adjective Requiring or carried out with careful thought or concern.
  • adjective Intended for sophisticated people.
  • adjective Deeply interested or involved.
  • adjective Concerned with important rather than trivial matters.
  • adjective Not joking or trifling.
  • adjective Informal Of considerable size or scope; substantial.
  • adjective Being of such import as to cause anxiety.
  • adjective Not easily answered or solved.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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.

Examples

  • Pávlovna, there are things which must be investigated and fully understood before they can be talked about, things too serious, too serious  ...

    Fruits of Culture

  • She petted the friendly cat, her expression serious as she stared up at James.

    My Fair Succubi

  • She petted the friendly cat, her expression serious as she stared up at James.

    My Fair Succubi

  • She petted the friendly cat, her expression serious as she stared up at James.

    My Fair Succubi

  • Her eyes were alert, her expression serious and self-conscious and beautifully placid.

    The Master

  • COOPER: Richard, let's talk about consequences -- 1441 used the term serious consequences if Iraq failed to abide by the resolution.

    CNN Transcript Feb 24, 2003

  • “Mother suffered?” the younger man asked, at great length, his expression serious again.

    MEMORY’S EMBRACE

  • “Mother suffered?” the younger man asked, at great length, his expression serious again.

    MEMORY’S EMBRACE

  • New York lawmakers Wednesday criticized the city's plan to remove PCB-contaminated lights from public schools over a 10-year period, saying it is insufficient to address what they call a serious health risk to children.

    PCB Plan Criticized

  • The president spoke to reporters Wednesday and compared the controversy to a carnival, at what he called a serious time.

    Obama Releases Birth Certificate

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