Definition of serious in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɪərɪəs/


1Demanding or characterized by careful consideration or application: marriage is a serious matter we give serious consideration to safety recommendations
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, of consequence, momentous, of moment, key, grave, weighty, far-reaching, major;
urgent, pressing, crucial, critical, vital, life-and-death, high-priority;
no joke, no laughing matter
careful, detailed, in-depth, deep, profound, meaningful
1.1Solemn 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, sober, sombre, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humourless, stony-faced;
thoughtful, preoccupied, deep in thought, pensive, meditative, ruminative, contemplative, introspective;
staid, sedate, studious, bookish
1.2(Of music, literature, or other art forms) requiring or meriting deep reflection: 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, cultured;
informal heavy
2Acting or speaking sincerely and in earnest, rather than in a joking or half-hearted manner: 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, meaning what one says;
committed, firm, resolute, resolved, determined
3Significant or worrying because of possible danger or risk; not slight or negligible: she escaped serious injury
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, alarming, worrying, grievous, dreadful, terrible, dire, extreme, dangerous, perilous, precarious
archaic or humorous parlous
4 [attributive] informal Substantial in terms of size, number, or quality: he suddenly had serious money to spend
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'.

Words that rhyme with serious

cinereous, deleterious, imperious, mysterious, Nereus, Tiberius

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ser|ious

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