Definition of solemnity in English:



  • 1The state or quality of being serious and dignified.

    ‘his ashes were laid to rest with great solemnity’
    • ‘A slight smile interrupted the seriousness of his face, or perhaps, accentuated its solemnity.’
    • ‘An air of gravity and solemnity pervaded the president's remarks as a stunned nation listened by radio.’
    • ‘This fifteen metre, golden statue has sat here for 30 years and while its bulk is impressive, don't expect meditative solemnity; the forecourt is noisy with music, stalls and snack bars.’
    • ‘In a field rooted in moral concern, there is a long tradition of solemnity and sternness.’
    • ‘One of the things that many business book authors fail to take into account is the fact that seriousness of message doesn't necessarily require solemnity of presentation.’
    • ‘He is a pleasantly scheming crook, with motley clothes and inimitable hairstyle; his definite traits are his love of rum, his philosophical resolve on revenge and his readiness to mock any expression of solemnity.’
    • ‘The memorial itself provides the truest dignity, solemnity and recognition justly deserved by those commemorated and respected.’
    • ‘Koch sought to reinvent American poetry by letting in ‘fresh air’, eliminating mythic solemnity and styling a conversational vernacular ablaze with wit and linguistic surprise.’
    • ‘These images reveal, without authorial commentary, the mixture of earnestness and fecklessness, solemnity and comedy that marks the typical contemporary parade.’
    • ‘Most couples realise that exchanging their vows is a key moment in life that calls for great seriousness and solemnity.’
    • ‘This casting decision does add an element of social education to the show, though its complexity and solemnity suggests it will find its most appropriate audience among older children and young teenagers.’
    • ‘The sense is that the modern - language, music, presentation - is too thin, we're told, to carry the transcendent and we have to go back to the old to recapture the splendour, solemnity and dignity of the Mass.’
    • ‘Tilson for is his ability to blend solemnity and humour.’
    • ‘In truth, the music didn't really take off - the church was stifling, people were shuffling on their feet and the music ebbed and flowed, promising climaxes that it didn't deliver, and tip-toeing around solemnity.’
    • ‘Looking back at those days when his father was still alive, the pipe definitely accorded him a necessary air of solemnity that gave his tragic observations the quality of wisdom.’
    • ‘A spokesman said he is displaying something not usually associated with the dignity and solemnity of his office - a sense of humour.’
    • ‘Shapiro's seriousness is not solemnity - the poems in this book do not allow for high-mindedness or convenient emotion - and his grief is not melodrama.’
    • ‘There is in Machado's prose a playfulness that teases the reader, humor that mocks solemnity and seriousness.’
    • ‘Not a man to be rushed into doing anything, my beloved walked the length and breadth of the property, up and down, roundabout, around the grounds, in the vegetable garden, face set with solemnity at the decision we were about to make.’
    • ‘In this, his fifth collection, Dean Young writes comic poems that eschew solemnity but are in fact terribly serious.’
    seriousness, earnestness, gravity, sobriety, sombreness, sternness, grimness, dourness, humourlessness, glumness, gloominess, moodiness
    dignity, ceremony, stateliness, courtliness, majesty, impressiveness, portentousness, splendour, magnificence, grandeur, importance, augustness, formality
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    1. 1.1A formal, dignified rite or ceremony.
      ‘the ritual of the church was observed in all its solemnities’
      • ‘The Christmas season, with its worship, observances, solemnities, and inhibitions, ends at sunset on Twelfth Night.’
      • ‘There the fool enjoyed special license to ridicule pretense and turn upside down social rituals and solemnities, including the dignity of the king himself.’
      • ‘Lawyers are criticised for insisting on forms and solemnities and actually taking out summonses, taking out orders, recording things properly.’
      • ‘For the uninitiated, Purim is to Passover as Carnival is to Easter - a short period of satiric lunacy before the solemnities begin.’
      • ‘The prescribed solemnities… [of marriage]… will be observed as much as for Slaves as for free persons, except that only the Master's, not the parents', consent will be necessary.’
      • ‘In some ways I felt I was back in the solemnities of 1970s conceptual art, walking around with a pair of headphones, with the artist's voice telling me what was happening as he walked toward the glacier I can see to my left.’
      • ‘All the hideous excrescences that have overgrown our modern life, the pomps and conventions and dreary solemnities, dread nothing so much as the flash of laughter which, like lightning, shrivels them up and leaves the bones bare.’
      formalities, proceedings, business, rigmarole, ado, ceremony, rite, ritual, celebration, festivity
      View synonyms


Middle English (in the sense observance of formality and ceremony frequently in the phrases in solemnity, with solemnity): from Old French solemnite, from Latin sollemnitas, from sollemnis (see solemn).