From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishseriousse‧ri‧ous /ˈsɪəriəs $ ˈsɪr-/ ●●●S1W1 adjective1situation/problemSERIOUS SITUATION a serious situation, problem, accident etc is extremely bad or dangerousthe serious problem of unemploymentLuckily, the damage was not serious.Serious crimes have increased dramatically.serious injury/illness/accident etca serious accident on the freewayOil spills pose a serious threat to marine life.The president was in serious trouble. → see Thesaurus box on 0000002importantIMPORTANT important and needing a lot of thought or attentionThis is a very serious matter.the serious business of earning a livingBe quiet, Jim. This is serious.3not joking or pretendingSERIOUS/NOT JOKING if someone is serious about something they say or plan to do, they really mean it and are not joking or pretendingHis voice suddenly became more serious.a serious articleserious aboutIs she serious about giving up her job?deadly/dead serious (=definitely not joking)She sounded dead serious.Marry Frank? You can’t be serious!4 →serious attention/consideration/thought5quiet/sensibleSERIOUS PERSON someone who is serious is very quiet and sensible, and does not laugh and joke mucha serious student6worried/unhappyWORRIEDSAD/UNHAPPY slightly worried or unhappyYou look serious. What’s wrong?7romantic relationshipFAITHFUL a serious romanticrelationship is likely to continue for a long timeIt’s serious – they’ve been seeing each other for six months.serious aboutAre you really serious about her?serious boyfriend/girlfriend
8sport/activity [only before noun]ENTHUSIASTIC very interested in an activity or subject, and spending a lot of time doing itHe’s become a serious golfer since he retired.Chris is a serious photographer.9very good [only before noun] informalGOOD/EXCELLENT very good and often expensiveHe’s got a serious car!10large amount [only before noun] informalLOT/LARGE NUMBER OR AMOUNT used to emphasize that you are talking about a large amount of somethingIn industry, you can earn serious money.COLLOCATIONSnounsa serious problemVandalism is a serious problem in the area.a serious injury/illnessThe driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.a serious accidentHe is recovering from a serious accident.serious damageThe explosion sparked a fire which caused serious damage to their flat.a serious threatIn the developed world, over-consumption is now a serious threat to health.a serious crime/offenceKidnapping is a serious crime.serious troubleThe economy was in serious trouble.serious consequencesNeglecting to make a proper will can have serious consequences.
THESAURUSvery badserious very bad – used about problems, accidents, illnesses, or crimesViolent crime is a serious problem in and around the capital.The boy was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.Fortunately, the damage to the car was not serious.severe very serious – used about problems, injuries, and illnessesHe suffered severe injuries in a car crash.The problem became so severe that they had to bring water in from other countries. severe epilepsygrave used about a situation that is very serious and worrying, especially because it is dangerous or seems likely to get worseA thick fog descended and I knew that we were in grave danger.The situation is grave – war now seems inevitable.acute used about an illness, problem, or situation that has become very serious or dangerous, and needs to be dealt with quicklyShe was taken to the hospital suffering from acute appendicitis.In San Diego, the shortage of skilled workers is acute.desperate used about a situation or problem that is very serious or dangerous, especially because a lot of people need urgent helpThe situation is desperate – people here need aid before the harsh winter sets in.The hospital is full of people in desperate need of medical attention.critical used about a situation that is very serious and dangerous and might get worse suddenlyIn 1991, the food supply situation became critical.Eight people were killed and four are still in a critical condition.life-threatening used about a situation, illness, or condition in which someone could dieHer child had a potentially life-threatening illness.The situation was not life-threatening, but it was very worrying.be a matter of life and death spoken to be extremely serious – used when a situation is very urgent or importantFor people living with HIV, getting the right treatment is literally a matter of life and death.not jokingserious not joking or laughing, or not pretendingHis voice sounded serious.They seem to be serious about their relationship.solemn very serious because of an important or sadoccasion or ceremonyMy father looked solemn, the way grown-ups look at funerals.The judge read the verdict in a solemn voice.grave written quiet and very serious – used especially about the way people look when something important or worrying happensShe consulted Doctor Staples and returned looking grave.He listened with a grave expression on his face.sombre British English (also somber American English) /ˈsɒmbə $ ˈsɑːmbər/ written sad, quiet, or serious because something unpleasant or worrying has happened or is going to happenThey sat in sombre silence.The meeting began in a sombre mood.earnest very serious and sincere – often used about someone who is young and not very experiencedHe was a rather earnest-looking young man.‘That’s wrong, ’ she said, her voice sounding very earnest.
Examples from the Corpus
serious• JJ and Chuck seemed prettyserious.• Laura was always very serious about her work.• The band are only young, but they're very serious about their music.• We both chuckled for a second, then got serious again.• Violent crime is a serious and growing problem throughout the country.• Friends described him as a serious and thoughtful man.• Paying serious attention to public opinion is a recentphenomenon.• All the other people in the office seemed to have a very seriousattitude towards their work.• He's always serious, but he still makes me laugh.• Ben's been involved in a serious car accident.• We'll give your point seriousconsideration.• The recent storms have caused seriousdamage.• The climbers got into seriousdifficulties and had to be air-lifted to safety.• My brother is a serious golfer.• The boy was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.• A pregnancyundertaken at a time of serious illness or death of a family member will bear added stress.• All were treated at Seattle's Harborview MedicalCenter, five of them for serious injuries, a spokeswoman said.• One scored a direct hit but, despite being showered with glass, there were no serious injuries.• First, because markets are imperfect in various ways they will tolerateserious levels of inefficiency.• I must admit I find the seriousnewspapers rather boring.• I've just had a seriousphone call.• Violent crime is a serious problem in and around the capital.• I have seriousreservations about the power supply being installedinside the box, it really isn't safe enough.• That's a pretty seriousSwissArmyknife.• Unfortunately it was more serious than that.• Stahl is serious, well educated, obedient, ambitious, and keeps his sense of humor out of sight.• In the last two weeks, the situation has become more serious, with riots and strikesspreading across the country.• At school we had to read works by seriouswriters like Shakespeare and Milton.serious injury/illness/accident etc• But no complaints: up to now, I have never had a serious illness.• But there is nothing to offer those with more serious illnesses.• Police reported a number of minorincidents but no furtherserious accidents.• All were treated at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, five of them for serious injuries, a spokeswoman said.• Both occupantsescapedserious injury but aircraft is a write-off.• Following a serious illness in 1744 she came to regard herself as sinful.• But it could mean the difference between financialsecurity and financial disaster for you and your family should a serious accident strike.• It followed the discovery of a package that could have caused serious injury, writes Audrey Gillan.serious matter• Mr. Howard I agree that it is a serious matter.• The upset and damage which has been caused to us by these articles is an extremely serious matter.• This is a very serious matter.• This was clearly a serious matter.• Inquiry is a serious matter and should be done boldly, whether applied to innovation or ponderoustheoretical matter.• The loss of potentialoutput resulting-from involuntaryunemployment is clearly a serious matter for an economy.• A politicized game is made out of serious matters to scholars and the field.serious about• Be serious aboutart, but joke a little about everything else.• Engelstad said lenders are urged to work with borrowers who are serious about keeping the mortgage.• If she is serious aboutknitting for other people she must do four things.• If you are serious about meeting your goals, telling the world in clear and certainterms will help you meet them.• The tabloids would never describe themselves as completely serious but we are serious about serious news.• I knew no girls who were serious aboutsports.• The business community is also seekingreassurance that Labor is serious about tackling inflation.• New York can't be serious about this.serious about• People in France are very serious about their food.• Stella, you aren't serious about this boy?• Look, I know you're not really serious about visiting, so quit pretending.serious money• Bricks and mortar used to much more than a sound investment - it was the best way to make serious money.• It is all about serious money.• Most have a core of solid businesses that ensure that at least parts of the firm are making serious money.• Or should they hang on in the hope that these assets will soon be worthserious money?• This was money, serious money.• To serious money and serious business, however, all this was anathema.• Judging by its state-of-the-artstudios, the owners have put some serious money into NewsTalk.