certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce certain (audio) \

Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fixed, settled a certain percentage of the profit
2 : of a specific but unspecified character, quantity, or degree the house has a certain charm
3a : dependable, reliable a certain remedy for the disease
b : known or proved to be true : indisputable it is certain that we exist
4a : inevitable the certain advance of age
b : incapable of failing : destined used with a following infinitive she is certain to do well
5 : assured in mind or action I am certain they are right
for certain
: as a certainty : assuredly the cause is not known for certain
of a certain age
: of a somewhat advanced age : no longer young remembered by people of a certain age

Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

: certain ones certain of my generation— W. B. Yeats

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Synonyms for certain

Synonyms: Adjective

anonymous, given, one, some, unidentified, unnamed, unspecified

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Choose the Right Synonym for certain

Adjective

sure, certain, positive, cocksure mean having no doubt or uncertainty. sure usually stresses the subjective or intuitive feeling of assurance. felt sure that I had forgotten something certain may apply to a basing of a conclusion or conviction on definite grounds or indubitable evidence. police are certain about the cause of the fire positive intensifies sureness or certainty and may imply opinionated conviction or forceful expression of it. I'm positive that's the person I saw cocksure implies presumptuous or careless positiveness. you're always so cocksure about everything

Examples of certain in a Sentence

Adjective

I'm fairly certain that I'll be on time. a certain person told me that today is your birthday

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The United States Department of Agriculture says that a place is thought of as a food desert if the area meets certain low-income and low-access thresholds. Jessica Booth, Redbook, "Everything You Need To Know About Food Deserts," 29 Apr. 2019 Shake together and spray in the certain area that needs shrinking. Rachel Bogo, Seventeen, "Here's How To Shrink Jeans for the Perfect Fit," 5 Apr. 2019 Moving your body in a way that recruits multiple muscle groups at once requires a certain level of coordination, focus, and core strength (which is why compound movements are so good for building core strength and stability). Amy Marturana, SELF, "Here's What Functional Training Is and Why It's Important," 7 Mar. 2019 Briefly, the Kuznets Curve shows that countries tend to get dirtier and more polluted in their early development, but hit an inflection point at a certain level of wealth and start getting cleaner. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019 As most people know, drivers for Lyft and Uber are booted from the service if their star-rating drops below a certain level (riders too). James Vincent, The Verge, "Lyft adds driver-friendly features including default tipping option," 15 Nov. 2018 No matter what kind of reaction the showrunners were expecting, one thing is for certain: The change definitely got people talking. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Are Calling the First Cross Battles Show the 'Worst Episode' Ever," 16 Apr. 2019 So a certain amount of leadership was always expected of George Putnam. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "George Putnam, Born to Influence, Led Investment Firm and Managed Harvard’s Money," 12 Apr. 2019 Staff members are expected to be loyal and completely dedicated, which often requires giving up a certain amount of your own personal freedom. Annabelle Spranklen, Town & Country, "What It's Really Like to Work for the Royal Family," 6 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'certain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of certain

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Pronoun, plural in construction

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for certain

Adjective

Middle English certeyn, certayne, borrowed from Anglo-French certein, certain, going back to Vulgar Latin *certānus, from Latin certus "fixed, settled, indisputable," originally past participle of cernere "to sift, discern, decide, determine" (going back to an Indo-European present stem *kri-n-, verbal adjective *kri-to-, from a verbal base *krei̯̯̯(h1)- "sift, separate," whence Greek krī́nein "to separate, choose, decide," verbal adjective kritós, Welsh gogrynu "to sift") + -ānus + -an entry 2

Pronoun, plural in construction

Middle English certyn, derivative of certeyn certain entry 1 — see certain entry 1

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Statistics for certain

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for certain

The first known use of certain was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for certain

certain

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not having any doubt about something : convinced or sure
used with it to say that something is known to be true or correct
used to say that something will definitely happen or that someone will definitely do something often followed by to + verb

certain

pronoun

English Language Learners Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : certain ones : particular members of a group

certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce certain (audio) \

Kids Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : without any doubt : sure Are you certain you saw her?
2 : known to be true It's certain that they were here.
3 : known but not named A certain person told me.
4 : being fixed or settled a certain percentage of the profit
5 : bound by the way things are Our plan is certain to succeed.
6 : sure to have an effect a certain cure

certain

pronoun

Kids Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

: known ones that are not named Certain of the students could work harder.

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More from Merriam-Webster on certain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with certain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for certain

Spanish Central: Translation of certain

Nglish: Translation of certain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of certain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on certain

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