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. 3that 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