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a sobering thought

A thought or idea which is dispiriting, depressing, or traumatic. It's a sobering thought when you consider how many people go without clean water every day.
See also: sober, thought

wanton kittens make sober cats

One who behaves wildly in youth often shows more restraint in adulthood. I wouldn't worry too much about your son's interest in partying—wanton kittens make sober cats most of the time.
See also: cat, kitten, make, sober

be (as) sober as a judge

1. To be stoic and reserved, perhaps even somber. Anita has been sober as a judge ever since she heard of Marshall's death.
2. To be calm and rational. He's usually as sober as a judge, so I'm confident that he'll make a sound decision.
3. To be not at all intoxicated. I haven't been drinking at all, I swear! I'm sober as a judge!
See also: judge, sober

appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober

To urge one to rethink something. The phrase refers to King Philip II of Macedon, who handed down an unwelcome decision and was challenged with an appeal to "Philip sober." If you're unhappy with his decision, then why don't you appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober?
See also: appeal, drunk, sober

stone-cold sober

Completely sober; not intoxicated to any degree by drugs or alcohol. I'm stone-cold sober, so I'll drive us home. No, I'm not high—I've been stone-cold sober from the day I started working here!
See also: sober

*sober as a judge

1. Cliché very formal, somber, or stuffy. (*Also: as ~.) You certainly look gloomy, Bill. You're sober as a judge. Tom's as sober as a judge. I think he's angry.
2. Cliché not drunk; alert and completely sober. (*Also: as ~.) John's drunk? No, he's as sober as a judge. You should be sober as a judge when you drive a car.
See also: judge, sober

sober someone up

1. Lit. to take actions that will cause a drunken person to become sober. some coffee ought to sober him up. He tried to sober himself up because he had to drive home. They tried to sober up the guys who had been out all night.
2. Fig. to cause someone to face reality. The harsh reality of what had happened sobered him up immediately. The arrival of the police sobered up all the revelers.
See also: sober, up

sober up

to recover from alcohol or drug intoxication. Barlowe had one hour to sober up and get to the station. It took him a while to sober up.
See also: sober, up

stone(–cold) sober

 and cold sober
absolutely sober. I am stone-cold sober, or I will be by morning anyway. I found the secret to waking up cold sober. Don't drink.
See also: sober, stone

sober as a judge

Not at all intoxicated, quite clear-headed, as in Even after three drinks he was sober as a judge. Why judges should be equated with sobriety is not known, but the simile was first recorded in 1694.
See also: judge, sober

sober as a judge

If someone is as sober as a judge, they have drunk no alcohol at all. For five years I was as sober as a judge.
See also: judge, sober

appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober

ask someone to reconsider, with the suggestion that an earlier opinion or decision represented only a passing mood.
This phrase comes from an anecdote told by the Roman historian and moralist Valerius Maximus concerning an unjust judgement given by King Philip of Macedon : the woman condemned by Philip declared that she would appeal to him once again, but this time when he was sober.
See also: appeal, drunk, sober

sober as a judge

completely sober.
See also: judge, sober

(as) sober as a ˈjudge

not at all affected by alcohol: I was driving, so of course I was sober as a judge. OPPOSITE: (as) drunk as a lord
See also: judge, sober

ˌstone-cold ˈsober

having drunk no alcohol at all: By the time I arrived at the party, everyone else had had quite a few drinks, whereas I was stone-cold sober. OPPOSITE: blind drunk
See also: sober

sober up

1. To have one's feeling of intoxication subside: I waited until I had sobered up and then drove home.
2. To cause someone's feeling of intoxication to subside: The jailer grabbed a pail of water and a cup of coffee to sober up the drunk. That nap really sobered me up, but I still have a hangover.
3. To overcome an alcohol or drug addiction: It wasn't until I had sobered up that I was able hold a steady job.
4. To become serious, grave, or solemn: Everyone sobered up and felt ashamed when they heard the bad news.
5. To make someone or something serious, grave, or solemn: The news of the disaster sobered them up. The accident sobered up the workers, reminding them how dangerous their job was.
See also: sober, up

(as) sober as a judge

mod. as sober (free from alcohol) as it is possible to be. Kelly—who was starched as could be—claimed to be sober as a judge.
See also: judge, sober

sober as a judge

See also: judge, sober

cold sober

mod. sober; completely sober. (see also sold cober.) He had a fine head on and wanted more than anything to be cold sober and alert.
See also: cold, sober

sober up

in. to recover from alcohol or drug intoxication. Marlowe had one hour to sober up and get to the station.
See also: sober, up

stone (cold) sober

mod. absolutely sober. I am stone cold sober, or I will be by morning anyway.
See also: cold, sober, stone

stone sober

See also: sober, stone
References in periodicals archive ?
The IKB-covered objects presented at his two Parisian shows of 1957 (folding screens, "minimalist" blocks, as well as generic post-Cubist abstract sculptures) were ignored, and one skipped directly to "Le Vide" of 1958, which was soberly represented by a short film, probably the only way this exhibition consisting of an empty gallery can be shown.
The repeated assertion that "anyone can make it" in America by silver-spoon scions and overcompensated, disgraced corporate executives, the chickenhawks with their multiple draft deferments intoning soberly about supporting the "brave men and women in uniform.
Other publications soberly discussing the cost of nuclear electricity in the 1950s put it around that of coal-fired production.
In piecing together his geological jigsaw, Fortey makes us realise what a dynamic and fascinating planet we live on, but soberly reminds us of our insignificance.
Well," he replied soberly, with the air of someone who has his work cut out for him, "if I get around to it, there should be a couple of thousand.
Johnson soberly concludes: "It is nowhere written that the United States, in its guise as an empire dominating the world, must go on forever.
Maybe they're not just much more soberly discreet but much better at faking than you are?
However, Wewer soberly noted that "increased promotional activity over the holidays could hurt the profitability for the entire consumer electronics retailing sector.
This first narrative voice soberly explains that the pages before us were acquired for him "by a Mr.
The sampler is used soberly, only occasionally producing an interesting noise in the background.
JOY DIVISION: John looks soberly on as Sam and pals chat at pub
While it's unlikely that the Fonz had that effect, he does provide the proper response to claims about TV's power over audiences' minds, whether hilariously overblown like Marshall's or Soberly documented like Sex on TV's: "Sit it.
During the years when I worked in preparing adults for the Rites of Christian Initiation, I saw with wonder how soberly individuals would labor over choosing their new name in Christ.
Instead, The Washington Post and other newspapers soberly reported on the cat-painting fad, while the art journal Parkett praised the book's "phenomenological research devoid of preconceptions.
The demand for performers was high, as numerous large cities and small towns across the country built concert halls and opera houses, creating new opportunities for women who were "more sought-after than American men for [band and orchestra] solo positions, partly in the belief that a woman's presence would lend a decorative element to a stage full of soberly clad men, but also out of concern that a featured virtuoso should be somewhat exotic.