Definition of somber in English:


(British sombre)


  • 1Dark or dull in color or tone; gloomy.

    ‘the night skies were somber and starless’
    • ‘Indeed, the whole production is dark in terms of both light levels and the sombre browns and greys of the costuming and set.’
    • ‘Neutral colours can look too bland and dark colours too sombre.’
    • ‘In the 1980s her paintings generally became calmer in mood and more sombre in colour.’
    • ‘The Codger pointed to a figure dressed in sombre colours, slightly behind and to the right.’
    • ‘Elements are only very occasionally brightly colored, and more consistently dark and somber.’
    • ‘Outside, the sky was muddled with the darkest blues and somber blacks, though it did not look menacing.’
    • ‘The period detail has been painstakingly recreated and it is shot in a sombre palette of olive greens and sepia tones.’
    • ‘The colours lend a brightness to the grey and sombre winter's afternoon.’
    • ‘The paintings seem at first to be sombre in tone, coloured mostly by umbers and sepia-like hues.’
    • ‘The dark and somber corridors came alive with paintings, pictures, and poetry.’
    • ‘Striped pants and jackets come in sombre or bold colours, and vertical striped sports shirts in uneven or even patterns.’
    • ‘Her husband, on the other hand, wears sombre tones of deep purple and black.’
    • ‘Despite this beautiful and dreamy Titian, the tone continued to be rather sombre.’
    • ‘The venue is outfitted to reflect the Irish name, done out in sombre colours, offset by wood panelling.’
    • ‘I hated Father Stone's somber church with its high dark ceilings that shut out the world.’
    • ‘When she painted in Belgium the colours were sombre with a lot of browns and ochres.’
    • ‘The early drawings are similarly mysterious and brooding, in somber tones of black, gray and brown.’
    • ‘It is a sombre painting with the only bright colour provided by the clergymen's vestments and by the headscarves of the women.’
    • ‘The discreet brown tone of the silk reflects the French taste for somber tones in dress fabrics.’
    • ‘The room has a musty odour; the furniture looks dark, heavy and somber as if the house resents my presence.’
    dark, dark-coloured, dull, dull-coloured, drab, dingy, shady
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    1. 1.1Oppressively solemn or sober in mood; grave.
      ‘he looked at her with a somber expression’
      • ‘It was a cold morning as workers gathered for the meeting, a sea of black and grey and dark blue jackets, and the mood was as sombre as the colour of the crowd.’
      • ‘But the counterpart to this enthusiasm was a sombre and deeply serious view of such a life's task.’
      • ‘The sombre occasion was further enhanced by the dulcet tones of Winnie Joyce.’
      • ‘If you haven't yet noticed, this album's tone is relatively somber.’
      • ‘Despite my sombre and bitter tone, much can be done to improve the relationship between the university and its students.’
      • ‘The women look not just somber but grim, their mouths taut, their eyes wary.’
      • ‘Other writers were equally to popularize the notion of a fundamental watershed, but in tones that encouraged a more sombre mood.’
      • ‘In an effort to take some of the beguilement out of her young eyes, I make light of your dark and somber task.’
      • ‘You could have gone two ways with this thing and been very sombre and serious about this subject.’
      • ‘What's more, the sombre, solemn songs are all the more moving for being used only sparingly.’
      • ‘But Stewy seemed to take the comment quite seriously, nodding in sombre sympathy as he tuned up his twelve string.’
      • ‘But you have a sombre, morose side which can mean you going for darker colours and shades.’
      • ‘Sharma reported it all in a deep and somber voice, manly but sensitive.’
      • ‘This brilliantly written book isn't entirely flippant, since its humour has a more sombre purpose.’
      • ‘From the outset this Achilles goes about his bloody work in a distinctly subdued and somber manner.’
      • ‘On the subway, commuters wore sombre expressions they would wear on any such Friday.’
      • ‘So I hopped out, went out on the veranda and said hello and smiled at everybody, and they were all very sombre and gloomy.’
      • ‘Shimmering waves of washes, glistening tones, and bell accents establish the somber mood.’
      • ‘He wore a gray uniform with a long coat and heavy leather boots and his face wore a stern, somber expression.’
      • ‘The media itself was remarkably restrained and somber in its reporting.’
      solemn, earnest, serious, grave, sober, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humourless, stony-faced
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Mid 18th century: from French, based on Latin sub under + umbra shade.