Definition of serious in English:


Syllabification: se·ri·ous
Pronunciation: /ˈsi(ə)rēəs


  • 1(Of a person) solemn or thoughtful in character or manner: her face grew serious
    More example sentences
    • Her forceful personality and ease in the spotlight complemented the king's serious, thoughtful demeanour.
    • These are serious, thoughtful people who are not in thrall to the restrictions of old ideologies.
    • He looks solemn and serious, but I can remember how he and the other two big boys were holding in laughter.
    solemn, earnest, grave, somber, sober, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humorless, stony-faced; thoughtful, preoccupied, pensive
  • 1.1(Of a subject, state, or activity) demanding careful consideration or application: marriage is a serious matter
    More example sentences
    • I raise what I consider to be quite a serious matter for your consideration.
    • I will give this matter serious consideration and report back as the member has requested.
    • I raise for serious debate and consideration the issue that we have too many judges.
    important, significant, consequential, momentous, weighty, far-reaching, major, grave; urgent, pressing, crucial, critical, vital, life-and-death, high-prioritycareful, detailed, in-depth, deep, profound, meaningful
  • 1.2(Of thought or discussion) careful or profound: we give serious consideration to safety recommendations
  • 1.3(Of music, literature, or other art forms) requiring deep reflection and inviting a considered response: he bridges the gap between serious and popular music
    More example sentences
    • Our culture forces serious music to function solely as entertainment or not at all.
    • They are probably the only group around making any kind of serious music.
    • Then a Saturday night show will take place at the Holy Cross Cathedral and will consist of more serious music.
    intellectual, highbrow, heavyweight, deep, profound, literary, learned, scholarly
    informal heavy
  • 2Acting or speaking sincerely and in earnest, rather than in a joking or halfhearted manner: suddenly he wasn’t teasing any more—he was deadly serious actors who are serious about their work
    More example sentences
    • These frank statements suggest that he is sincere and serious about exposing the problems and proposing solutions.
    • If it was serious about a long-term commitment to Mitsubishi, then why isn't it willing to bail it out?
    • Better to try to look half way serious about this now, rather than after the names break.
    in earnest, earnest, sincere, wholehearted, genuine; committed, resolute, determined
  • 3Significant or worrying because of possible danger or risk; not slight or negligible: she escaped serious injury Haydn was Mozart’s only serious rival
    More example sentences
    • To allow that to happen is to put the child itself at terrible risk of serious injury or death if there is an accident.
    • It is better to speak of an unlawful and dangerous act carrying with it an appreciable risk of serious injury.
    • People deserve better - not just those living there but the motorists who risk death or serious injury every day.
    severe, grave, bad, critical, acute, terrible, dire, dangerous, perilous, parlous
    formal grievous
  • 4 [attributive] informal Substantial in terms of size, number, or quality: he suddenly had serious money to spend a serious chocolate cheesecake
    More example sentences
    • So, I am making a shopping list and plan to be spending some serious money!
    • No, Blair's Britain had a minimum wage, a New Deal for the unemployed and spent serious money on health and education.
    • Yes, turkey hunters love to hunt and are willing to spend serious money in this growing market.


late Middle English: from Old French serieux or late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius 'earnest, serious'.

More definitions of serious

Definition of serious in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: meɪdʒ
a magician or learned person