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

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Synonyms for certain

Synonyms: Adjective

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

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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

This at a time when the penalty for such an offense could be death by execution, or almost certain death in the gulag. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Pavlik Morozov Is the Patron Saint of Cancel Culture," 2 July 2019 Why didn't the people at SHIELD double-check certain allegations with their ridiculous research capabilities? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man: Far from Home," 1 July 2019 But as with all Yorke’s music, Anima is worship-worthy when a certain, rational part of the brain is set to sleep mode. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Thom Yorke’s Beautiful New Nightmare," 29 June 2019 Apps like DeepNude are almost certain to proliferate, offering faster and more realistic deepfakes in the years to come. James Vincent, The Verge, "New AI deepfake app creates nude images of women in seconds," 27 June 2019 Shortly afterwards, Chile defender Gonzalo Jara made a brilliant defensive header to deny a near-certain goal from the lurking Diego Godín after a good ball was was put in towards the far post. SI.com, "Copa América Roundup: Uruguay Clinch Top Spot as Ecuador & Japan Are Eliminated," 25 June 2019 One thing is certain, all of us who lived through this terrible storm will take our lessons with us for the rest of our lives. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "SUNDAY CONVERSATION: Lightning sparks Jim Siebert’s interest in weather," 23 June 2019 To be certain, like Facebook itself, the Libra could do a lot of good for the world. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What could possibly go wrong with Facebook’s Libra?," 22 June 2019 While most of the original cast — including Stephanie Pratt, who was the voice in the promo — is for sure on board, there are a handful of staple cast members whose return is not as certain, especially with Mischa Barton now in the mix. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Everyone Who Is & Isn't Returning To The Hills: New Beginnings," 20 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.

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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

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Statistics for certain

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for certain

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

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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.

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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).

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to form ideas or theories about something

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