Definition of sombre in English:
- Neutral colours can look too bland and dark colours too sombre.
- The paintings seem at first to be sombre in tone, coloured mostly by umbers and sepia-like hues.
- Striped pants and jackets come in sombre or bold colours, and vertical striped sports shirts in uneven or even patterns.
- He wore a gray uniform with a long coat and heavy leather boots and his face wore a stern, somber expression.
- You could have gone two ways with this thing and been very sombre and serious about this subject.
- Sharma reported it all in a deep and somber voice, manly but sensitive.
- Example sentences
- Dozens of officers forming a Guard of Honour snapped to attention as the procession, headed by two mounted officers and the solitary drummer, sombrely approached the building.
- Participants and onlookers stood sombrely as a single cannon shot heralded the silence, which marks the beginning of the armistice on November 11 1918.
- The stained glass windows are of the expected bright colouring and the dark choir stalls sombrely face each other from both sides of the aisle, in the usual manner.
- Example sentences
- The Soho streets, their sombreness heightened by the glorious evening sunshine that flooded the near empty pavements on Thursday night, were alive again.
- You could hear the sombreness of the vast Finnish forests, the determination and endurance of her people, and the ingenuity of its composer in striking degree here.
- And if the passing of the great man brought a sombreness to the mood, that wasn't lifted by what happened on the pitch.
Mid 18th century: from French, based on Latin sub 'under' + umbra 'shade'.
If you are in a sombre mood you can be thought of as being under a shadow, rather like those cartoons showing a dark cloud hanging over a person's head. The word came into English from French in the middle of the 18th century but was based on Latin sub ‘under’ and umbra ‘shade or shadow’. Sombrero, the broad-brimmed hat, is a Spanish word with a similar origin. See also umbrella
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.