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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for certain

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 amendment would also limit the number of new federal judgeships that Congress would be allowed to create within a certain timeframe. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Better Way to Fix the Supreme Court," 4 June 2019 Others, such as one in New York, are being blamed on vaccine refusal in certain communities. Mari A. Schaefer, https://www.inquirer.com, "How the record U.S. measles outbreak could affect your summer plans," 4 June 2019 Fasano was making the point that Democratic legislators are blocked, by law, from raiding the state’s rainy day fund under certain circumstances. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Budget battle cites famed artist MC Hammer at Capitol - "Can’t Touch This''," 4 June 2019 However, both candidates say that the contentious race between May Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Greg Brockhouse has, in certain respects, bled off into their own runoff for the West Side district. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "Candidates in San Antonio City Council District 6 runoff say voters more energized, polarized," 4 June 2019 The possible side effects include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, and a drop in certain white blood cells that help fight infections. Amy Norton, CBS News, "Newer drug extends lives of young breast cancer patients, study finds," 3 June 2019 What is certain is that Monday’s news is a major blow to a player who emerged as Golden State’s most reliable center this season. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ Kevon Looney out indefinitely with fracture," 3 June 2019 The audit checks to make sure the agency is complying with certain rules — that a registered nurse is overseeing patient care, for example. Audrey Dutton, idahostatesman, "Boise man died of burns after a home health aide left him in hot bath, friend says," 3 June 2019 An Alabama sheriff's office's post warning parents about certain apps has gone viral. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "Whisper: What to know about app Alabama man allegedly used to lure 13-year-old for sex," 3 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about certain

Statistics for certain

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for certain

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up certain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!