- grave, sober, or mirthless, as a person, the face, speech, tone, or mood: solemn remarks.
- gravely or somberly impressive; causing serious thoughts or a grave mood: solemn music.
- serious or earnest: solemn assurances.
- characterized by dignified or serious formality, as proceedings; of a formal or ceremonious character: a solemn occasion.
- made in due legal or other express form, as a declaration or agreement: a solemn oath.
- marked or observed with religious rites; having a religious character: a solemn holy day.
- uttered, prescribed, or made according to religious forms: a solemn ban on sacrifice.
Origin of solemn
SynonymsSee more synonyms for solemn on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for solemn
They stood in a single row, united by solemn respect as the Liu family remained inside.Funeral Protest Is Too Much for NYPD Union Boss
January 5, 2015
Somewhat coyly, Skidmore admits that “Richard was to break this solemn vow in spectacular style.”Three Dicks: Cheney, Nixon, Richard III and the Art of Reputation Rehab
July 27, 2014
The parade was solemn, with reverent music and the call-and-response singing of two choirs.The First Americans to Observe the 4th Were Moravian Pacifists
Linda C. Brinson
July 4, 2014
No putdowns, no jokes, no frivolity whatever—he was most solemn and his eyes focused somewhere far beyond the back of my head.What It Was Like to Watch the Beatles Become the Beatles—Nik Cohn Remembers
February 9, 2014
Once again, we are approaching that most solemn and perplexing American social ritual—the Super Bowl party.Your Super Bowl Etiquette Guide From Food to Clothes to What Not to Say
Kelly Williams Brown
February 1, 2014
He has obtained from his son a solemn promise never to speak to me of marriage.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
The old farmer had believed the solemn words of the impostor.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
My promise is spoken; yours unspoken, but not the less real and solemn.
Harriett felt nothing but a strange, solemn excitement and exaltation.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
The solemn mysteries have their place, but it is one of climax.The Conquest of Fear
- characterized or marked by seriousness or sinceritya solemn vow
- characterized by pomp, ceremony, or formality
- serious, glum, or pompous
- inspiring awea solemn occasion
- performed with religious ceremony
- gloomy or sombresolemn colours
Word Origin and History for solemn
mid-14c., "performed with due religious ceremony or reverence, sacred, devoted to religious observances," also, of a vow, etc., "made under religious sanction, binding," from Old French solempne (12c., Modern French solennel) and directly from Latin sollemnis "annual, established, religiously fixed, formal, ceremonial, traditional," perhaps related to sollus "whole" (see safe (adj.)).
"The explanation that Latin sollemnis was formed from sollus whole + annus year is not considered valid" [Barnhart], but some assimilation via folk-etymology is possible. In Middle English also "famous, important; imposing, grand," hence Chaucer's friar, a ful solempne man. Meaning "marked by seriousness or earnestness" is from late 14c.; sense of "fitted to inspire devout reflection" is from c.1400. Related: Solemnly.