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 Despite that, and with a weird certainty, something tells me that the voice might now be more real than ever. Justin Curto, Vulture, "SOPHIE Remembered As ‘Superhuman’ by Collaborator and Friend A.G. Cook," 26 Apr. 2021 Researchers won’t say with absolute certainty that Ceasefire alone reduces crime. Dallas News, "What Dallas can learn from Oakland’s experience in lowering violent crime," 25 Apr. 2021 Greater equity was the central consideration of Swift’s label change—along with greater certainty that all who contributed to making the art itself would benefit from their work. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Here’s Why Taylor Swift Is Re-Releasing Her Old Albums," 25 Mar. 2021 The team's roster planning, which always stretches three years into the future, can now forecast with some certainty a sharp rise in NFL revenue, with cap increases to follow. Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "Vikings bank on NFL bounceback of salary cap," 20 Mar. 2021 Normally scores can be compared nationwide with some certainty because the judges come from a national pool. The Salt Lake Tribune, "After ho-hum effort vs. Utah State, Utah gymnasts slip to second seed for Pac-12 Championships," 16 Mar. 2021 Knowing with absolute certainty that a person suffers from this COVID-19 complication might be critical for future treatment options. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "This breakthrough coronavirus test could tell you if you’re still immune," 9 Mar. 2021 The app creator, Sonde Health of Boston, promises the tool can read that sample and predict with 70% certainty whether someone is at higher risk of experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "COVID-19: Xavier students test app that tries to read the coronavirus in your voice," 5 Mar. 2021 Consensus historians speak with Olympian certainty. William Hogeland, The New Republic, "Against the Consensus Approach to History," 25 Jan. 2021

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Certainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certainty. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for certainty



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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