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adverb sure·ly \ˈshr-lē, especially Southern ˈshr-\

: in a confident way

: without a doubt

—used in negative statements to show surprise that something could be true

Full Definition of SURELY

:  in a sure manner:
a archaic :  without danger or risk of injury or loss :  safely
b (1) :  with assurance :  confidently <answered quickly and surely>
(2) :  without doubt :  certainly <they will surely be heard from in the future — R. J. Lifton>
:  indeed, really —often used as an intensive <you surely don't believe that>

Usage Discussion of SURELY

Most commentators consider the adverb sure to be something less than completely standard; surely is usually recommended as a substitute. Our current evidence shows, however, that sure and surely have become differentiated in use. Sure is used in much more informal contexts than surely. It is used as a simple intensive <I can never know how much I bored her, but, be certain, she sure amused me — Norman Mailer> and, because it connotes strong affirmation, it is used when the speaker or writer expects to be agreed with <it's a moot point whether politicians are less venal than in Twain's day. But they're sure as the devil more intrusive — Alan Abelson> <he sure gets them to play — D. S. Looney>. Surely, like sure, is used as a simple intensive <I surely don't want to leave the impression that I had an unhappy childhood — E. C. Welsh> but it occurs in more formal contexts than sure. Unlike sure it may be used neutrally—the reader or hearer may or may not agree <it would surely be possible, within a few years, to program a computer to construct a grammar — Noam Chomsky> and it is often used when the writer is trying to persuade <surely a book on the avant-garde cannot be so conventional — Karl Shapiro>.

Examples of SURELY

  1. She answered quickly and surely.
  2. He will surely be missed.
  3. This is surely the best dessert you have ever made.
  4. Surely you must admit that it was a good decision.

First Known Use of SURELY

14th century

Rhymes with SURELY

SURELY Defined for Kids


adverb sure·ly \ˈshr-lē\

Definition of SURELY for Kids

:  without doubt <It's a book you will surely enjoy.>
:  beyond question :  really <I surely do miss them.>
:  with confidence :  confidently <He answered their questions surely.>


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