Etymology: Middle English seryows, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French serious, from Late Latin seriosus, alteration of Latin serius weighty, serious; probably akin to Old English swǣr heavy, sad
Date: 15th century
1. thoughtful or subdued in appearance or manner ; sober <a quiet, serious girl> 2. a. requiring much thought or work <serious study> b. of or relating to a matter of importance <a serious play> 3. a. not joking or trifling ; being in earnest <a serious question> b. archaic pious c. deeply interested ; devoted <a serious musician> 4. a. not easily answered or solved <serious objections> b. having important or dangerous possible consequences <a serious injury> 5. excessive or impressive in quality, quantity, extent, or degree <serious stereo equipment> <making serious money> <serious drinking> • seriousness noun Synonyms: serious, grave, solemn, sedate, staid, sober, earnest mean not light or frivolous. serious implies a concern for what really matters <a serious play about social injustice>. grave implies both seriousness and dignity in expression or attitude <read the proclamation in a grave voice>. solemn suggests an impressive gravity utterly free from levity <a sad and solemn occasion>. sedate implies a composed and decorous seriousness <remained sedate amid the commotion>. staid suggests a settled, accustomed sedateness and prim self-restraint <a quiet and staid community>. sober stresses seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity <a sober look at the state of our schools>. earnest suggests sincerity or often zealousness of purpose <an earnest reformer>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.