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 Among the dozens of protesters interviewed by TIME for this story, there is widespread certainty that escalation is the only way to confront Beijing. Time, "'I Absolutely Will Not Back Down.' Meet the Young People at the Heart of Hong Kong's Rebellion," 23 Jan. 2020 The only certainty entering Sunday's game is that Michigan knows what worked — and what didn't — last season. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan basketball has adjusted since last season's sweep by MSU," 4 Jan. 2020 To Hinojosa, the choice of which path to take -- rebuild or renovate -- rests on financial certainty. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "Needing to move fast, Dallas ISD presses trustees to pick path for storm-damaged schools," 10 Jan. 2020 When the District 24-6A boys’ basketball race unfolds Friday, one certainty appears in place. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Boys’ basketball: Dickinson heavy favorite to win 24-6A crown," 2 Jan. 2020 While hunting, there is no certainty in these things. Anchorage Daily News, "Hunting trails don’t always end in obvious places, but they all have turning points," 23 Nov. 2019 There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a definitive takeover offer, the people said. BostonGlobe.com, "KKR makes formal approach to Walgreens Boots on record buyout - The Boston Globe," 12 Nov. 2019 But there is no certainty among economists about where the limit might lie. The Economist, "Britain may soon have one of the highest minimum wages in the world," 1 Oct. 2019 MSF’s Berger said, adding that there was no certainty those on board could endure the wait Open Arms experienced, which would mean another week at sea. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Rescue ship, loaded with migrants, awaits port access," 22 Aug. 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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Learn More about certainty

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

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Certainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certainty. Accessed 17 Feb. 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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