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 infinitiveshe 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

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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 Putin concluded his speech to parliament, which lasted slightly more than an hour, by recommending the package of amendments be approved by a vote - with passage all but certain. Isabelle Khurshudyan, Anchorage Daily News, "Russia’s government overhauled as Putin looks to cement influence after presidency," 15 Jan. 2020 Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. Lisa Mascaro, Fortune, "House Expected to Vote Wednesday to Send Articles of Impeachment to Senate," 14 Jan. 2020 Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. Time, "House Plans Wednesday Vote to Send Articles of Impeachment to Senate," 14 Jan. 2020 More recently, Asus’ ROG Phone 2—which has physical buttons—also utilizes touch-sensitive areas as shoulder triggers, which is handy for certain types of videogames. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "Get Ready for More Phones With No Buttons," 14 Jan. 2020 The latest attack seemed certain to stall fresh efforts to restart the on-again, off-again peace talks between Washington and the Taliban. CBS News, "Two U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan identified," 13 Jan. 2020 The latest attack seemed certain to stall fresh efforts to restart the on-again, off-again peace talks between Washington and the Taliban. Fox News, "2 US service members killed by road side bomb in Afghanistan," 12 Jan. 2020 The latest attack seemed certain to stall fresh efforts to restart the on-again, off-again talks. SFChronicle.com, "News of the Day From Around the World, Jan. 12," 11 Jan. 2020 The blowout that had seemed certain, however, was long gone, with the Rockets far more likely to have to find a way to survive whatever offensive blast Trae Young had in store. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets fight off Hawks for third straight win," 8 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for certain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for certain

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Certain.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certain. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for certain

certain

adjective
How to pronounce certain (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for certain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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