Meaning of solemn in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsɒləm/

See synonyms for solemn

Translate solemn into Spanish


  • 1Formal and dignified.

    ‘a solemn procession’
    • ‘It's a solemn, formal occasion witnessed with pride by family and friends.’
    • ‘The funeral procession was solemn but lofty, as befit the prince.’
    • ‘We went then from the cold church in solemn procession, singing litanies into the thin air.’
    • ‘The officers who took part in the solemn ceremony pointed out that they ‘had laid down their lives today for the sake of our tomorrow’.’
    • ‘A record number of veterans brought a forest of flags to a former Second World War prisoner-of-war camp for a solemn ceremony to remember fallen comrades.’
    • ‘Across the Potomac, an equally solemn ceremony took place this morning at the World War II Memorial.’
    • ‘More than 200 people attended a solemn ceremony at the City Hall Memorial Garden to honour Hong Kong's war dead.’
    • ‘The American National Anthem will be played followed by solemn music during the ceremony instead of the usual marches.’
    • ‘There were, of course, the solemn ceremonies at the parish church, the best attended of the year after Christmas.’
    • ‘In a symbolic gesture one of his sculptures was uncovered in a solemn ceremony.’
    • ‘Rochdale remembered its war dead in solemn ceremonies throughout the borough.’
    • ‘The enormous space which had before seemed cathedral-like in its solemn majesty and timelessness, now resembled the aftermath of a hurricane or earthquake.’
    • ‘Yet, while magic had not lost its potency or usefulness, most of its solemn pomp and ceremonial value was long gone.’
    • ‘Graduation and similar ceremonies should be solemn, with the national flag raised at the front.’
    • ‘As Big Ben struck quarter-to-noon the solemn music of the approaching procession outside became more audible.’
    • ‘The committee proposes that couples should be free to choose where they want to get married, though the location must not detract from the solemn nature of the ceremony.’
    • ‘A band blows solemn notes as two riders on magnificently caparisoned horses trot to the president's box, salute, and trot back to raucous cheers.’
    • ‘Organ music at the Mass set a solemn tone, but the day's ceremonies ended on a festive note, with fireworks and a ball under the stars.’
    • ‘A splendid orchestra and chorus group set up a solemn and glorious atmosphere for the play.’
    • ‘In the solemn atmosphere of the memorial ceremony, many victims' relatives were unable to contain their emotions as they remembered their loved ones.’
    dignified, ceremonious, ceremonial, stately, courtly, majestic, imposing, impressive, awe-inspiring, portentous, splendid, magnificent, grand, important, august, formal
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Not cheerful or smiling; serious.
      ‘Tim looked very solemn’
      • ‘The painter's face assumed a serious, almost solemn expression.’
      • ‘When you go into a courtroom you are doing something very serious and solemn and you are representing more than just the rights of your client.’
      • ‘His brown eyes were serious and solemn as he watched her.’
      • ‘The look of hope in her eyes was too solemn for a smile.’
      • ‘Not one of them shed a tear, but sat there on the uncomfortable wooden seats, trying to mask their anguish with solemn seriousness.’
      • ‘His expression changed from a cheery smile to a solemn frown.’
      • ‘Finally he sat up to face her, his eyes now solemn and serious.’
      • ‘George's smile faded into a solemn understanding of her predicament.’
      • ‘I wouldn't have agreed to it, but he had sounded so serious and so solemn that I had said yes before I could stop myself.’
      • ‘He then turned to stare at her, and Usagi realized that he had never looked that solemn and serious when he was with her before.’
      • ‘He wasn't being playful anymore, instead he was totally serious, solemn even.’
      • ‘Chase, feeling very solemn despite the smile he wore, looked deeply into her eyes.’
      • ‘She watched him with her deep eyes, then a small smile broke her solemn face.’
      • ‘We resumed holding hands, all our faces now purposefully solemn, though with little smiles twitching at our mouths.’
      • ‘The title of the novel suggests a solemn and introspective work.’
      • ‘There are people all over writing solemn and thought-provoking pieces to mark the completion of a year that's not been one of humanity's most noble.’
      • ‘A forum that often is raucous and rowdy was solemn and grave.’
      • ‘We need not argue at length that philosophy is serious, but this does not mean that it needs to be solemn or humourless.’
      • ‘There's a solemn, ruminative atmosphere, and it's strange to see so many people and hear so little noise.’
      • ‘Let them begin this solemn journey with our heartfelt prayers.’
      serious, earnest, grave, sober, sombre, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humourless, glum, gloomy, moody, stony-faced
      View synonyms
  • 2Characterized by deep sincerity.

    ‘he swore a solemn oath to keep faith’
    • ‘And, beyond logistics, Carlton was a public servant, bound by a solemn sworn duty to uphold the law.’
    • ‘After marrying Romola he wounds her deepest feelings by betraying her father's solemn trust.’
    • ‘Her voice grew serious and I could tell her face was taking on the unfamiliarity of really being solemn and genuine about something.’
    • ‘Those entering a civil partnership will not do so lightly, and are making a solemn commitment of partnership and mutual support.’
    • ‘A solemn commitment will be made in front of everyone and rings can be exchanged.’
    • ‘That accord had the solemn commitment of the major parties in Parliament.’
    • ‘The solemn pledge taken included an oath swearing to quit the drug habit and to avoid association with former friends and others still involved with drugs.’
    • ‘Democrats and Republicans are on different sides of the aisle, but we have a shared oath and a solemn obligation to serve our country together.’
    • ‘For centuries now, we have had experience with people who come to court to testify, and they take the familiar solemn oath.’
    • ‘Each individual undergoing treatment takes a solemn oath to change their behavior.’
    • ‘I am moved at weddings, the idea of a solemn commitment that's made in a church, in a sacred place, in front of friends and family.’
    • ‘From early days the taking of solemn religious oaths was regarded as an essential part of the political and social order.’
    • ‘The document has not been cast as a statement under oath or as a solemn affirmation or made in a similar manner as to bind the conscience of the author of the document.’
    • ‘Bolingbroke gives his solemn oath that he has come not to usurp the throne but simply to reclaim his rightful goods and title.’
    • ‘When they join the Colours, young soldiers make a solemn commitment: that if necessary, they will lay down their lives for their country.’
    • ‘I, First Councilor Reneeth, give my solemn oath that you shall be treated fairly.’
    • ‘The associate justices wrote that they are ‘bound by solemn oath to follow the law, whether they agree or disagree with it’.’
    • ‘He saw a single tear fall from her cheek, and watched her make that solemn oath to herself.’
    • ‘I had made a promise, a solemn oath, to be with him for the rest of my days, and to the oath I would keep.’
    • ‘I was persuasive with the governor and he swore a solemn oath to me that you would come to no harm from this.’
    sincere, earnest, honest, genuine, firm, committed, unconditional, heartfelt, wholehearted, sworn, formal
    View synonyms


Middle English (in the sense ‘associated with religious rites’): from Old French solemne, from Latin sollemnis ‘customary, celebrated at a fixed date’, from sollus ‘entire’.