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 With that destabilization has come an understandable lack of certainty as to our respective places in the nation and its future. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 No matter the exact nature of the flexion point or its attendant dilemmas, this lack of certainty as to the next step in your career can be a crucible. Paul Blanchard, Rolling Stone, 1 Sep. 2021 But the main reason is his prophetic air of certainty. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 While gauging such a link requires thorough analysis, scientists are now able to do so with a high degree of certainty in many cases. New York Times, 30 July 2021 Biden's not alone as bosses turn toward some kind of certainty for the majority of workers who probably already have the shot. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 29 July 2021 But Alabama being tabbed as the conference champion is less of a certainty. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 22 July 2021 Though data from the National Association of Realtors suggests that most sales close as expected — as of April 2021, only 5% of contracts were terminated — some sellers want a greater level of certainty. cleveland, 11 July 2021 With little in the way of certainty at the top of the draft, the Diamondbacks likely won’t have a firm sense of who their pick will be at No. 6 overall on Sunday until not long before the selection itself. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 10 July 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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Time Traveler for certainty

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Certainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certainty. Accessed 19 Sep. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on certainty

Nglish: Translation of certainty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of certainty for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about certainty


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