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solemn +‎ -ity, from Middle English solemnity (observance of formality and ceremony), frequently in the phrases in solemnity, with solemnity, which from Old French solemnite, from Latin sollemnitās, from sollemnis. (Compare solemn.)[1]


  • IPA(key): /səˈlɛmnɪti/
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: so‧lem‧ni‧ty


solemnity (countable and uncountable, plural solemnities)

  1. The quality of being deeply serious and sober or solemn.
    the solemnity of a funeral
    • 1711 August 15 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “SATURDAY, August 4, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 158; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697:
      The stateliness and gravity of the Spaniards shows itself in the solemnity of their language.
    • 1754, Jonathan Edwards}, An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions Respecting that Freedom of the Will which is supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency
      These promises were often made with great solemnity and confirmed with an oath.
  2. An instance or example of solemn behavior; a rite or ceremony performed with reverence.
    • c. 1699 – 1703, Alexander Pope, “The First Book of Statius His Thebais”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, [], published 1717, OCLC 43265629, page 337:
      Great was the cauſe; our old ſolemnities / From no blind zeal or fond tradition riſe, / But ſav'd from death, our Argives yearly pay / Theſe grateful honours to the God of Day.
    • 1698 December 2 (Gregorian calendar), Francis Atterbury, “The Usefulness of Church Musick, a Sermon Preached on St. Cecilia’s Day, in 1698”, in Thomas Moore, editor, Sermons on Several Occasions. [], volume II, London: [] George James []; and sold by C. Davis, [], published 1734, OCLC 953567982, pages 233–234:
      This is the Man after God's Heart, [] by endeavouring, when he aſſiſted at thoſe Solemnities, to perform them with the utmoſt Attention, Alacrity, and holy Warmth of Mind, of which he was capable.
  3. (Catholicism) A feast day of the highest rank celebrating a mystery of faith such as the Trinity, an event in the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, or another important saint.
  4. (law) A solemn or formal observance; proceeding according to due form; the formality which is necessary to render a thing done valid.
  5. (obsolete) A celebration or festivity.



  1. ^ “solemnity” in The New Oxford American Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2005