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sober

[soh-ber]
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adjective, so·ber·er, so·ber·est.
  1. not intoxicated or drunk.
  2. habitually temperate, especially in the use of liquor.
  3. quiet or sedate in demeanor, as persons.
  4. marked by seriousness, gravity, solemnity, etc., as of demeanor, speech, etc.: a sober occasion.
  5. subdued in tone, as color; not colorful or showy, as clothes.
  6. free from excess, extravagance, or exaggeration: sober facts.
  7. showing self-control: sober restraint.
  8. sane or rational: a sober solution to the problem.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become sober: (often followed by up).

Origin of sober

1300–50; Middle English sobre < Old French < Latin sōbrius
Related formsso·ber·ing·ly, adverbso·ber·ly, adverbso·ber·ness, nounnon·so·ber, adjectivenon·so·ber·ly, adverbnon·so·ber·ness, nounnon·so·ber·ing, adjectivequa·si-so·ber, adjectivequa·si-so·ber·ly, adverbun·so·ber, adjectiveun·so·ber·ly, adverbun·so·ber·ness, nounun·so·bered, adjectiveun·so·ber·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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2. abstinent, abstemious. 4. serious, quiet, sedate, subdued, staid. See grave2. 5. somber, dull. 7. composed, collected. 8. reasonable, sound.

Antonyms

4. gay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sober

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And Buck was just sober enough to perceive that he was being held lightly.

  • These questions, in her sober mood, weighed the others down.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • The delusion has now vanished, and made room for sober reason and reflection.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.

  • But that bit about the sober gray eyes and the piquant chin Jane was responsible for.


British Dictionary definitions for sober

sober

adjective
  1. not drunk
  2. not given to excessive indulgence in drink or any other activity
  3. sedate and rationala sober attitude to a problem
  4. (of colours) plain and dull or subdued
  5. free from exaggeration or speculationhe told us the sober truth
verb
  1. (usually foll by up) to make or become less intoxicated, reckless, etc
Derived Formssobering, adjectivesoberingly, adverbsoberly, adverbsoberness, noun

Word Origin

C14 sobre, from Old French, from Latin sōbrius
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sober

adj.

mid-14c., "moderate in desires or actions, temperate, restrained," especially "abstaining from strong drink," also "calm, quiet, not overcome by emotion," from Old French sobre "decent; sober" (12c.), from Latin sobrius "not drunk, temperate, moderate, sensible," from a variant of se- "without" (see se-) + ebrius "drunk," of unknown origin. Meaning "not drunk at the moment" is from late 14c.; also "appropriately solemn, serious, not giddy." Related: Soberly; soberness. Sobersides "sedate, serious-minded person" is recorded from 1705.

v.

late 14c., "reduce to a quiet condition" (transitive), from sober (adj.). Meaning "render grave or serious" is from 1726. Intransitive sense of "become sober" (since late 19c. often with up) is from 1820. Related: Sobered; sobering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper