in·​sure | \ in-ˈshu̇r How to pronounce insure (audio) , -ˈshər- \
insured; insuring

Definition of insure

transitive verb

1 : to provide or obtain insurance on or for
2 : to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions

intransitive verb

: to contract to give or take insurance

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Choose the Right Synonym for insure

ensure, insure, assure, secure mean to make a thing or person sure. ensure, insure, and assure are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or inevitable of an outcome, but ensure may imply a virtual guarantee the government has ensured the safety of the refugees , while insure sometimes stresses the taking of necessary measures beforehand careful planning should insure the success of the party , and assure distinctively implies the removal of doubt and suspense from a person's mind. I assure you that no harm will be done secure implies action taken to guard against attack or loss. sent reinforcements to secure their position

Do you ensure or insure?

There is considerable confusion about whether ensure and insure are distinct words, variants of the same word, or some combination of the two. They are in fact different words, but with sufficient overlap in meaning and form as to create uncertainty as to which should be used when. We define ensure as “to make sure, certain, or safe” and one sense of insure, “to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions,” is quite similar. But insure has the additional meaning “to provide or obtain insurance on or for,” which is not shared by ensure. Some usage guides recommend using insure in financial contexts (as in “she insured her book collection for a million dollars”) and ensure in the general sense “to make certain” (as in “she ensured that the book collection was packed well”).

Examples of insure in a Sentence

He found the language not obscene … but did find it intentionally disruptive, and held that school officials had the right to insure that a high-school assembly proceed in an orderly manner, without hoots and howls and all that snickering. — William Safire, New York Times Magazine, 24 Aug. 1986 … his sudden fame probably insured a backlash. — Calvin Tomkins, New Yorker, 6 Dec. 1982 The fact that by supplying his uncle with an amusing mistress he would insure against any awkward second marriage was merely a fortunate coincidence. — Mollie Hardwick, Emma, Lady Hamilton, 1969 We insured our house against fire and flood damage. I found a company that will insure my car for less than I've been paying. This policy will insure your car against theft. She had difficulty finding a company that would insure her. They take great care to insure the safety and security of their home. We hope that careful planning will insure success.
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Recent Examples on the Web Durizon Roofing told customers they were bonded and insured, but were not, according to the statement. Elizabeth Zavala,, "San Antonio roofing company owners sentenced to prison in scam targeting mostly elderly," 10 Feb. 2020 The insured are healthier, and their finances are too A SICK PERSON would once have to sell land or cows to pay hospital bills, says Owen Orishaba, a teacher in the Kigezi highlands of Uganda. The Economist, "How a Ugandan hospital delivers health insurance through burial groups," 30 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, insured people with chronic health conditions struggled frequently to pay for visits to specialists. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Healthcare access has declined in past two decades, despite Obamacare: Study," 29 Jan. 2020 And then just from a logistical standpoint, [there's] finding the property, insuring the property. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "After Mass Shooting, Will the Route 91 Harvest Festival Ever Return to Las Vegas?," 28 Jan. 2020 It is licensed, bonded and insured, and employees strive to provide professional service. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Plumbing business focuses on customer service, education," 19 Sep. 2019 Aside from working with large companies on sponsorships, the 2021 World Games will do its business locally; for example, McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc. will be insuring the games. Anna Beahm |,, "21 things you need to know about the 2021 World Games in Birmingham," 21 July 2019 Black Americans living in states that expanded their Medicaid programs are now more likely to be insured compared with white Americans living in states that shunned Medicaid expansion, according to a study released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund. Paige Winfield Cunningham,, "Obamacare improved the uninsured gap between black and white Americans, study says," 16 Jan. 2020 Finance Director Todd Fischer said the contract, from February 2020 through January 2021, is an approximately 2 percent increase over the 2019 contract, due to the decision to insure items based upon replacement costs. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Brunswick City Council approves mayoral appointments for 2020," 14 Jan. 2020

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

1635, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for insure

Middle English, to assure, probably alteration of assuren

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Time Traveler for insure

Time Traveler

The first known use of insure was in 1635

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Statistics for insure

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for insure


How to pronounce insure (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insure

: to buy insurance for (something, such as property or health)
: to provide insurance for (something, such as property or health) also : to provide (someone) with insurance
US : to make (something) sure, certain, or safe


in·​sure | \ in-ˈshu̇r How to pronounce insure (audio) \
insured; insuring

Kids Definition of insure

1 : to give or get insurance on or for I insured my car.
2 : to make certain I want to insure your safety.

Other Words from insure

insurer noun


in·​sure | \ in-ˈshu̇r How to pronounce insure (audio) \
insured; insuring

Legal Definition of insure

transitive verb

: to assure against a loss by a contingent event on certain stipulated conditions or at a given rate of premium : give, take, or procure insurance on or for

intransitive verb

: to contract to give insurance : underwrite also : to procure or effect insurance

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More from Merriam-Webster on insure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insure

Spanish Central: Translation of insure

Nglish: Translation of insure for Spanish Speakers

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