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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]


solemnity (countable and uncountable, plural solemnities)

  1. The quality of being deeply serious and sober or solemn.
    the solemnity of a funeral
    • Addison
      The stateliness and gravity of the Spaniards shows itself in the solemnity of their language.
    • J. Edwards
      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.
    • Alexander Pope
      Great was the cause; our old solemnities / From no blind zeal or fond tradition rise, / But saved from death, our Argives yearly pay / These grateful honours to the god of day.
    • Atterbury
      The forms and solemnities of the last judgment.
  3. (law) A solemn or formal observance; proceeding according to due form; the formality which is necessary to render a thing done valid.
  4. (obsolete) A celebration or festivity.



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