Definition of serious in English:



  • 1Demanding or characterized by careful consideration or application.

    ‘marriage is a serious matter’
    ‘we give serious consideration to safety recommendations’
    • ‘That submission calls for serious consideration and it has led to some close textual analysis of the paragraph in question.’
    • ‘According to the experts, serious consideration of the unique factors involved is required.’
    • ‘Space does not allow publication of all questions, but all receive serious 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.’
    • ‘He gave them all a puzzled look but could tell they were in a serious conversation, so he didn't push it.’
    • ‘This is not just about child abuse, serious though it undoubtedly is.’
    • ‘It's important to remember that failure to submit an application is a serious matter.’
    • ‘I raise what I consider to be quite a serious matter for your consideration.’
    • ‘One should always treat analogies with caution, but this one merits serious consideration.’
    • ‘Now, though, there are serious questions about the level of disclosure by the very head of the inquiry.’
    • ‘If somebody made me a good offer to take over your job I would give it serious consideration.’
    • ‘They have carefully avoided any serious debate on the economic issues.’
    • ‘When you go into a courtroom you are doing something very serious and solemn and you are representing more than just the rights of your client.’
    • ‘It attempts to handle a serious topic thoughtfully, but ultimately fumbles it.’
    • ‘Don't expect serious discussion of any of these issues from our federal courts.’
    • ‘The book has serious flaws, though, and not just because it is really only an extended essay.’
    • ‘If not, I think it's a serious consideration if this journal is any indication.’
    • ‘First though, there were serious problems that needed solving.’
    • ‘Though addressing serious issues such as the status of women, it is not thick with gravitas.’
    important, significant, consequential, of consequence, momentous, of moment, key, grave, weighty, far-reaching, major
    careful, detailed, in-depth, deep, profound, meaningful
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Solemn or thoughtful in character or manner.
      ‘her face grew serious’
      • ‘He tried to appear serious for a second but then broke down laughing.’
      • ‘Then he let the smile fade into a more serious expression, though it was one that was filled with a steady joy.’
      • ‘Her blush climbed higher as he watched her with feigned serious thoughtfulness.’
      • ‘For once, he was totally serious as new thoughts compressed his old ones to the back of his mind.’
      • ‘Her mother became very serious for a moment, her hands tightening on Jessie's shoulders.’
      • ‘He looks solemn and serious, but I can remember how he and the other two big boys were holding in laughter.’
      • ‘She scowled meanly, then her face became more serious and thoughtful.’
      • ‘She looked at him levelly, her eyes dry and now solemn and serious.’
      • ‘Her forceful personality and ease in the spotlight complemented the king's serious, thoughtful demeanour.’
      • ‘The familiar smirk was gone, replaced by a serious, solemn look that she had never seen before.’
      • ‘I tried to give him a charming smile and look serious at the same time.’
      • ‘He grinned at her, but quickly turned serious again as his thoughts returned to why he was there.’
      • ‘Indeed, it became an important part of the process of playing a serious character.’
      • ‘He looked so serious for a moment that Faith almost believed him.’
      • ‘Olivia looks thoughtful before her serious face is broken by a broad smile.’
      • ‘He became serious for a moment as they stepped onto the marble floor of the entry hall.’
      • ‘These are serious, thoughtful people who are not in thrall to the restrictions of old ideologies.’
      • ‘His character is serious, but loveable, and it's great to see him tackle drama as easily as he does comedy.’
      • ‘I've always tried to be both humorous and serious at the same time.’
      solemn, earnest, grave, sober, sombre, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humourless, stony-faced
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(of music, literature, or other art forms) requiring or meriting deep reflection.
      ‘he bridges the gap between serious and popular music’
      • ‘It was generally a parody or skit on more serious opera, a forerunner of the satirical revue.’
      • ‘Then a Saturday night show will take place at the Holy Cross Cathedral and will consist of more serious music.’
      • ‘The principal gave a little speech on creating the right mood for serious poetry.’
      • ‘It is so rewarding to experience theatre that is serious, thought provoking, skilful and local.’
      • ‘The movie itself might not be much on serious drama, but the bonus features make up for that.’
      • ‘At least when I grew up I could look forward to the next Bergman film or serious movies by other great film-makers.’
      • ‘He has made a serious and thoughtful film, despite some obvious limitations.’
      • ‘It was not commercial fiction, it was all serious fiction, but I loved it.’
      • ‘Very few directors dare to make serious films due to paucity of funds, she said.’
      • ‘While it toyed with serious drama, Moulin Rouge is injected with joyous melodramatic fun.’
      • ‘Name me a recent serious novel written about the experience of Black men in America.’
      • ‘Our culture forces serious music to function solely as entertainment or not at all.’
      • ‘A serious drama should be like a swimmer diving into a pool and swimming to the other side in one smooth, perfect trajectory.’
      • ‘Of course The Magdalene Sisters is a serious film, a horror story in the true sense of the term, but also a lesson in history.’
      • ‘He was nominated for an Oscar for his first serious movie, The Last Picture Show, which he made at age 22.’
      • ‘And his new film, Munich is also what I suppose you can call a serious film by Spielberg.’
      • ‘There is no permanent circuit to screen serious films and the distribution system too leaves much to be desired.’
      • ‘Every aspect of what is supposed to prevail in serious fiction comes into play.’
      • ‘Before that I was beginning to fear there was no place for serious drama in the movie industry.’
      • ‘They are probably the only group around making any kind of serious music.’
      intellectual, highbrow, heavyweight, deep, profound, literary, learned, scholarly, cultured
      View synonyms
  • 2Acting or speaking sincerely and in earnest, rather than in a joking or half-hearted manner.

    ‘actors who are serious about their work’
    • ‘He's truly serious about wanting to get the paparazzi outlawed.’
    • ‘Nobody in the Security Council thought that he was serious or honest with that declaration.’
    • ‘We've already shared a bit of banter but for that 90 minutes we will be very serious about what we have to do for our respective countries.’
    • ‘The club is serious about their intent to gain promotion this season.’
    • ‘Now, judging on the tax cuts you've offered, you're quite serious about that.’
    • ‘And even if he was being serious about the tsunami escape centre, who's to say the idea is ludicrous?’
    • ‘Those aren't the words of somebody who was serious about fighting the Cold War.’
    • ‘If the Government is serious about disaster preparedness, it is going to have to start with the fundamentals.’
    • ‘I'm serious about this because we are now looking at some accountability in a system.’
    • ‘If we are serious about cutting the teenage pregnancy rate, family planning experts must be able to advise young people of the choices.’
    • ‘Most people begin to think that no one is serious about it and its all just a big joke.’
    • ‘These frank statements suggest that he is sincere and serious about exposing the problems and proposing solutions.’
    • ‘If he is really serious about giving up, and is not just saying that to fob you off, he should seek professional therapy to help him to kick the habit.’
    • ‘Better to try to look half way serious about this now, rather than after the names break.’
    • ‘You start locking up folks and then we tell people we are serious about this.’
    • ‘These food changes took a lot of determination, but I was serious about losing weight.’
    • ‘If Americans don't get serious about voter fraud very soon, it will be too late.’
    • ‘If it was serious about a long-term commitment to Mitsubishi, then why isn't it willing to bail it out?’
    • ‘If the Americans are serious about the spread of liberty they must commit themselves to it.’
    • ‘Though she was quite serious, James Benedict burst into a bought of amused laughter.’
    in earnest, earnest, sincere, wholehearted, genuine, meaning what one says
    View synonyms
  • 3Significant or worrying because of possible danger or risk; not slight or negligible.

    ‘she escaped serious injury’
    • ‘Adequate knowledge and training of clinicians will minimize the occurrence of such serious complications.’
    • ‘Does this mean there is new evidence that climate change is more serious than previously thought?’
    • ‘Only 26 patients had side effects that were serious enough to require a dosage reduction.’
    • ‘To allow that to happen is to put the child itself at terrible risk of serious injury or death if there is an accident.’
    • ‘If the offence is serious enough to warrant it, the court may consider imposing a community sentence.’
    • ‘I fear that this may well have some serious repercussions for many innocent Muslims.’
    • ‘The grade 3 concussion and the retinal detachment were the most serious injuries observed.’
    • ‘The risk of serious complication was lower in those who had treatment for diabetes.’
    • ‘The most common serious complications were related to the incision or urinary tract problems.’
    • ‘However, due to a serious family illness we will be unable to go.’
    • ‘There is an error in the third paragraph which is sufficiently serious to warrant that I replace the copy.’
    • ‘Full protection needs to be worn to reduce the risk of serious eye injuries.’
    • ‘However, investigations later showed it was only an increased heartbeat which is less serious than first thought.’
    • ‘The firm says the problem is not serious enough to merit a full product recall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The most serious injuries were thought to be head injuries, broken bones and fractures.’
    • ‘Deeper infection is serious and requires removal and re-implantation of the joint.’
    • ‘The specialist I visited at age 8 did not believe my condition was serious enough to merit correction.’
    • ‘The screener must decide whether a complaint raises a question of serious professional misconduct.’
    severe, grave, bad, critical, acute, alarming, worrying, grievous, dreadful, terrible, dire, extreme, dangerous, perilous, precarious
    View synonyms
  • 4informal [attributive] Substantial in terms of size, number, or quality.

    ‘he suddenly had serious money to spend’
    • ‘Many companies are involved in a serious and extensive total quality management effort.’
    • ‘So, I am making a shopping list and plan to be spending some serious money!’
    • ‘When was the last time you gained any serious size using regular whey protein?’
    • ‘Daytona International Speedway announced a serious sum of money is going to be spent on renovations.’
    • ‘The owners have spent serious money making it a very enjoyable tour that takes around a half an hour.’
    • ‘In its 30th year the pool would need a serious overhaul and more money would be needed to support the venture.’
    • ‘This is the kind of thing that gives me serious second thoughts about the Internet.’
    • ‘Now all but the most unquestioning loyalists are having serious second thoughts.’
    • ‘No, Blair's Britain had a minimum wage, a New Deal for the unemployed and spent serious money on health and education.’
    • ‘The conduct did not cause serious or substantial harm to Broadview's interest.’
    • ‘Ignoring the heterogeneity may lead to a serious underestimation of sample sizes.’
    • ‘Yes, turkey hunters love to hunt and are willing to spend serious money in this growing market.’
    • ‘Both clubs boast some serious money, and some serious hubris.’
    • ‘Our diligent investigations reveal serious alteration to the terms of the document.’
    • ‘US production companies invest serious time and money into their craft, and it makes great TV.’
    • ‘They are prepared, on occasion, to part with a serious amount of money provided they are convinced that the cooking merits it.’
    • ‘Now this amiable Bostonian is ready to pack on some serious size to do damage at the next level.’
    • ‘This is all outweighed by its tiny size and serious devotion to high-end features for the price.’
    • ‘Even before opening the box there's a feeling of quality and a serious amount of weight!’
    • ‘Though dazed and in serious pain, I was aware on some level of the chaos I had instigated.’
    sizeable, substantial, appreciable, significant
    View synonyms


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