[ soh-ber ]
/ ˈsoʊ bər /

adjective, so·ber·er, so·ber·est.

verb (used with or without object)

to make or become sober: (often followed by up).



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Origin of sober

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English sobre, from Old French, from Latin sōbrius

synonym study for sober

4. See grave2.

historical usage of sober

English sober comes from Middle English sobre, sober(e), sobor, from Old French sobre, from Latin sōbrius “sober (not intoxicated), in possession of one’s faculties, staid and sensible in behavior.” Sōbrius appears to be a compound of the preposition and prefix sē, sē- “apart, aside, by oneself” and the adjective ēbrius “drunk, intoxicated” (the derivative adjective ēbriōsus means “addicted to alcohol, alcoholic”). The adjective sōbrius therefore means “not drunk,” which is an odd way of looking at things, as if sobriety were the unusual condition and drunkenness the normal.
Ēbrius ultimately derives from the Proto-Indo-European root egwh- “to drink” (the consonant gwh regularly becomes b in Latin and ph in Greek). The Latin suffix -ri- added to egwh- yields the stem for the adjective ēbrius. In Greek, the root egwh- is prefixed by the negative particle ne-, becoming first nēgwh and then nēph-, the stem of the Greek verb nḗphein “to be sober.”

OTHER WORDS FROM sober Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for sober

British Dictionary definitions for sober

/ (ˈsəʊbə) /


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

Derived forms of sober

sobering, adjectivesoberingly, adverbsoberly, adverbsoberness, noun

Word Origin for sober

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