cer·​tain·​ty | \ ˈsər-tᵊn-tē How to pronounce certainty (audio) \
plural certainties

Definition of certainty

1 : something that is certain
2 : the quality or state of being certain especially on the basis of evidence

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Choose the Right Synonym for certainty

certainty, certitude, conviction mean a state of being free from doubt. certainty and certitude are very close; certainty may stress the existence of objective proof claims that cannot be confirmed with scientific certainty , while certitude may emphasize a faith in something not needing or not capable of proof. believes with certitude in an afterlife conviction applies especially to belief strongly held by an individual. holds firm convictions on every issue

Examples of certainty in a Sentence

Scientists still do not know with any degree of certainty why the disease spread so quickly. We cannot predict the outcome with absolute certainty. There was no certainty that the package would arrive in time. Her certainty about these complex moral issues is surprising.
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Recent Examples on the Web In most homicide cases, detectives work to reach a level of certainty in their investigations so that the prosecutors will feel comfortable formally charging someone in criminal court. Ryan Martin, The Indianapolis Star, "There will be 2 investigations into IMPD shooting Dreasjon Reed. Here's how they'll work.," 17 May 2020 No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said. Manuel Baigorri, Bloomberg.com, "Merck KGaA Revives Sale of Allergy Therapy Business," 13 May 2020 The discussions around the plan seem to be gaining momentum and attention, if only among media types, but the degree of certainty that MLS can pull off the restart necessitated by the novel coronavirus global pandemic is unclear. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "FC Cincinnati: Spencer Richey responds to plans to restart MLS play, salary-cut talks," 13 May 2020 The pandemic just lifted the odds of European-style taxes to a virtual certainty. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Who will pay for the coronavirus bailout? If you’re under 50 and working, you will," 20 Apr. 2020 Even if Tony Snell opts in to his $12.2 million for next season – a virtual certainty – the Pistons should have somewhere around $30 million to work with for trades and free agency. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons have money to spend, so what should they do this offseason? A checklist," 3 Apr. 2020 The gun-control push was sparked in part by a mass-shooting last May in Virginia Beach, and new gun restrictions became a virtual certainty after Democrats won control of the legislature. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Thousands of Pro-Gun Advocates Rally in Virginia," 20 Jan. 2020 This is not proof beyond all possible doubt or to a mathematical certainty. Danny Cevallos, NBC News, "Why the House impeachment standard would never survive the criminal justice system," 19 Dec. 2019 And there’s the near-certainty that these new 5G networks will also jack up your monthly data plans, as networks look to recoup the costs of installing the infrastructure. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Why design will make or break the 5G revolution," 5 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'certainty.' 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 certainty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for certainty

Middle English certeinte, borrowed from Anglo-French certeinté, from certein, certain certain entry 1 + -té -ty

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Time Traveler for certainty

Time Traveler

The first known use of certainty was in the 14th century

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Statistics for certainty

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Certainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certainty. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for certainty


How to pronounce certainty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of certainty

: the state of being or feeling certain about something
: something that is certain : a fact about which there is no doubt


cer·​tain·​ty | \ ˈsər-tᵊn-tē How to pronounce certainty (audio) \
plural certainties

Kids Definition of certainty

1 : something that is sure Victory was a certainty.
2 : the quality or state of being sure She answered with certainty.

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Comments on certainty

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