American English

Definition of serious adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1bad or dangerous a serious illness/problem/offense to cause serious injury/damage They pose a serious threat to security. The consequences could be serious.
  2. needing thought
  3. 2needing to be thought about carefully; not only for pleasure a serious article a serious newspaper It's time to give serious consideration to this matter.
  4. important
  5. 3 that must be treated as important We need to get down to the serious business of calculating costs. The Yankees are a serious contender for the World Series this year.
  6. not silly
  7. 4thinking about things in a careful and sensible way; not silly Be serious for a moment; this is important. I'm afraid I'm not a very serious person.
  8. not joking
  9. 5sincere about something; not joking or meant as a joke Believe me, I'm deadly (= extremely)serious. Don't laugh, it's a serious suggestion. serious (about doing something) Is she serious about wanting to sell the house? serious (about somebody/something) He's really serious about Penny and wants to get engaged. She doesn't have a serious boyfriend. (informal) You can't be serious! (= you must be joking) You think I did it?Be serious! (= what you suggest is ridiculous)
  10. large amount
  11. 6 (informal) used to emphasize that there is a large amount of something You can earn serious money doing that. I'm ready to do some serious eating (= I am very hungry). Thesaurusseriousgrave earnest solemnThese words all describe someone who thinks and behaves carefully and sensibly, but often without much joy or laughter.serious thinking about things in a careful and sensible way; not laughing about something:He's really a very serious person. Be serious for a minute; this is important.grave (somewhat formal) (of a person) serious in manner, as if something sad, important, or worrying has just happened:She looked very grave as she entered the room.earnest serious and sincere:The earnest young doctor answered all our questions. an earnest attempt to communicatesolemn looking or sounding very serious, without smiling; done or said in a very serious and sincere way:The minister wore a solemn expression. I made a solemn promise that I would return.Patterns a(n) serious/grave/earnest/solemn expression/face a serious/solemn mood/atmosphere
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: serious