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

Synonyms for certain

Synonyms: Adjective

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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 In 2013, after the Sandy Hook massacre, the state legislature passed the SAFE Act, an attempt to crack down on the sale of semi-automatic rifles with certain military-style features. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 21 May 2022 Baxter wrote that like in skating, judges can give high rewards for certain accomplishments, such as creating a product that helps reduce fossil fuels in circulation, as Tesla has done. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 21 May 2022 Whenever Amanda or Hamlin sees a patient for the first time at the Pink House, they are required by the state to share certain information with the patient. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2022 Plant diseases are very specific to certain plants. Chris Mckeown, The Enquirer, 21 May 2022 Pennsylvania law triggers a recount if a candidate's margin of victory is 0.5% or less, as seems all but certain. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 18 May 2022 Finland and Sweden are all but certain to seek accession to NATO, with Finland set to submit a report to its Parliament and Sweden’s parliament and cabinet set to meet on Monday. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 16 May 2022 While the country's Parliament still has to weigh in, the announcement means Finland is all but certain to apply -- and gain admission -- though the process could take months to complete. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 13 May 2022 While the country’s Parliament still has to weigh in, the announcement means Finland is all but certain to apply — and gain admission — though the process could take months to complete. Oleksandr Stashevskyi, Chicago Tribune, 12 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for certain

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near certain

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Certain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certain. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for certain

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on certain

Nglish: Translation of certain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of certain for Arabic Speakers

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