- not intoxicated or drunk.
- habitually temperate, especially in the use of liquor.
- quiet or sedate in demeanor, as persons.
- marked by seriousness, gravity, solemnity, etc., as of demeanor, speech, etc.: a sober occasion.
- subdued in tone, as color; not colorful or showy, as clothes.
- free from excess, extravagance, or exaggeration: sober facts.
- showing self-control: sober restraint.
- sane or rational: a sober solution to the problem.
- to make or become sober: (often followed by up).
Origin of sober
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sobering
A sobering article on gang rape inside a UVA fraternity has Wahoo alumni like myself up in arms.How UVA Is Failing Its Women
November 20, 2014
For these people the disaster over the Mojave Desert is a sobering wake-up call.Virgin Galactic’s Flight Path to Disaster: A Clash of High Risk and Hyperbole
November 1, 2014
What Webb offers is a sobering, moralistic way of looking at the world.Wait a Minute, Clinton Coronators—Here Comes Jim Webb
September 24, 2014
A sobering CollegeHumor video reflects on the social consequences of every single activity in your daily life.The Awful Apps That Let You Vote With Your Wallet
August 22, 2014
It is sobering and extremely disappointing to find that heroes of past generations played it so close to the dark side.Thank You for Smoking: How Big Tobacco Created the ‘Type A’ Personality Myth
July 9, 2014
Such inelastic lessons, given time to soak in, were sobering.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
He was even able to indulge himself in a quiet, sobering grin at his own folly.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
This sobering blow which had fallen on it had probably not come before it was needed.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
Helen, too, noted the effect in his sobering eyes, and was resentfully glad.The Law-Breakers
Gregory nodded bleakly, sobering at once, and swallowed the pellet.Homesick
- not drunk
- not given to excessive indulgence in drink or any other activity
- sedate and rationala sober attitude to a problem
- (of colours) plain and dull or subdued
- free from exaggeration or speculationhe told us the sober truth
- (usually foll by up) to make or become less intoxicated, reckless, etc
Word Origin and History for sobering
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.
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.