adj. so·ber·er, so·ber·est
1. Not intoxicated or affected by the use of alcohol or drugs.
2. Abstaining from or habitually abstemious in the use of alcoholic drink or other intoxicants: a former addict who has been sober for 10 years.
3. Straightforward and serious; not exaggerated, emotional, or silly: gave a sober assessment of the situation.
4. Serious or staid in character or conduct: Sober people refrained from making a judgment until all the facts came out. See Synonyms at serious.
5. Plain or subdued, as in decoration: sober attire.
tr. & intr.v. so·bered, so·ber·ing, so·bersPhrasal Verb:
To make or become sober: "He could not be dissuaded and set off again on his foolish way while we headed north, saddened and sobered by his recklessness, and by the waste of his hours" (Rick Bass).
1. To make or become free from intoxication: sobered herself up after the party; tried to sober up with coffee.
2. To make or become free from habitual intoxication: He has been trying to sober up for years.
[Middle English sobre, temperate, not inebriated, from Old French, from Latin sōbrius; see s(w)e- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.