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

At certain points in the flow field the cells’ alignment broke down — one group of cells might be perpendicular to a neighboring group, for example. Quanta Magazine, "Swirling Bacteria Linked to the Physics of Phase Transitions," 16 June 2019 After years of work, extraordinary graphics, extra dialogue and a new combat system may make playing again more adventuresome and, because of a certain tragic plot point, more heartbreaking. Washington Post, "The 10 most promising games at E3 2019," 13 June 2019 At a certain point, things just harden into permanence. Rachel Louise Ensign, WSJ, "A Truist Story About the Perils of Combining Company Names," 13 June 2019 There, one finds a certain kind of Mexican American musician on the hustle. Hector Saldana, ExpressNews.com, "Piñata Protest, restaurant musicians celebrated at Talón Fest in San Antonio," 13 June 2019 Because of minor geographic differences in the census and mortgage datasets, the analysis at certain points includes 99.6% of the originations between 2001 and 2009 and 99.8% of the foreclosures between 2013 and 2017. Nick Penzenstadler And Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, USA TODAY, "How we investigated reverse mortgage foreclosures," 11 June 2019 Research shows certain kinds of media coverage are associated with reductions in suicide: specifically, those that focus on individuals who thought about suicide but found coping mechanisms and did not die by suicide. Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Kids in Crisis' film on youth mental health attracts national attention with DVD giveaway, NewsHour segment," 7 June 2019 At certain points last year, Jerod Mayo sat right to my left on the set of a sports show when the Patriots were getting ready to play. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Who’s Calling the Shots? How the Patriots Are Handling Major Coaching Turnover," 6 June 2019 Streitbare Demokratie is the principle under which Germany bans certain kinds of political parties and Austria bans some political books. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Crowder Isn’t a Threat to Public Safety," 6 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

21 Jun 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

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