certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn \

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

But one of the things missed is that for certain people this had devastating effects. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "‘Fyre’ Examines a Failed Festival’s Ashes," 15 Jan. 2019 One is cropped short like a bomber jacket and covered in rich brown fur with four fat glinting gold buttons down the middle, something an Upper East Side Jewish lady of a certain age might wear to shop for groceries at Gristedes. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Am I the Only One Who Feels Guilty About Wearing Vintage Fur?," 15 Jan. 2019 As with any procedure or treatment, there are certain risks, says Astarita, but CoolSculpting is considered quite safe. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About CoolSculpting (and Were Too Afraid to Ask)," 11 Jan. 2019 But thanks to Instagram, nostalgia, and the allure of a certain way of life, the A-frame is back and better than ever. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Affordable A-frame house can be built by just two people," 11 Jan. 2019 There’s a certain emotional complexity to Etta James’ catalogue and character that makes her an iconic and lasting artist. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "15 Love Songs That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet the Moment You Press Play," 9 Jan. 2019 Residents likely will ask the council to alter the plan on certain blocks, Johnson said. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council starts debate on upzones; here’s how neighborhoods across the city would be affected," 8 Jan. 2019 Some of the latest cancer treatments can cost as much as half a million dollars in the US, and even if your insurance covers them, living outside of certain US cities could make getting the treatments almost impossible. Julia Belluz, Vox, "We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor.," 8 Jan. 2019 In certain cases, Newman said that Intel is working with PC makers to enable simple phone-tethering solutions. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside Project Athena: How Intel and PC makers are creating the ultra-responsive laptops of tomorrow," 7 Jan. 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

18 Jan 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

: 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 refer to something or someone that is not named specifically

certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn \

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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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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