\ ˈshu̇r , ˈshər , especially Southern ˈshȯr \
surer; surest

Definition of sure 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 obsolete : safe from danger or harm

2 : firmly established : steadfast a sure hold

3 : reliable, trustworthy a sure friend

4a : marked by or given to feelings of confident certainty I'm sure I'm right

b : characterized by a lack of wavering or hesitation sure brush strokes a sure hand

5 : admitting of no doubt : indisputable spoke from sure knowledge

6a : bound to happen : inevitable sure disaster

b : bound, destined is sure to win

7 : careful to remember, attend to, or find out something be sure to lock the door

for sure

: without doubt or question : certainly

to be sure

: it must be acknowledged : admittedly



Definition of sure (Entry 2 of 2)

: surely

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Other words from sure


sureness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sure


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

sure vs. surely: Usage Guide


Most commentators consider the adverb sure to be something less than completely standard; surely is usually recommended as a substitute. Our current evidence shows, however, that sure and surely have become differentiated in use. Sure is used in much more informal contexts than surely. It is used as a simple intensive I can never know how much I bored her, but, be certain, she sure amused me —Norman Mailer and, because it connotes strong affirmation, it is used when the speaker or writer expects to be agreed with. it's a moot point whether politicians are less venal than in Twain's day. But they're sure as the devil more intrusive —Alan Abelson he sure gets them to play —D. S. Looney Surely, like sure, is used as a simple intensive I surely don't want to leave the impression that I had an unhappy childhood —E. C. Welsh but it occurs in more formal contexts than sure. Unlike sure it may be used neutrally—the reader or hearer may or may not agree it would surely be possible, within a few years, to program a computer to construct a grammar —Noam Chomsky and it is often used when the writer is trying to persuade. surely a book on the avant-garde cannot be so conventional —Karl Shapiro

Examples of sure in a Sentence


She's not sure who will be there. Are you sure you want to go? Are you sure about that? She'll be there, I'm sure of it. Are you sure of the results? The return of the robins is a sure sign of spring. The letter is a sure indication that she cares. Pizza is a sure crowd pleaser. The surest way to lose weight is with diet and exercise. One sure way to improve your health is to stop smoking.


we sure could use your help here
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After the murder, lawmakers want to be sure small businesses are a safe haven for minors who may be under attack or seeking help. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Justice For Junior: NY proposes legislation to require small businesses to be safe havens for minors," 13 July 2018 The best Kapler could do was make sure his ace is eligible. Matt Breen,, "Aaron Nola will be eligible to pitch in All-Star Game. Could he start?," 11 July 2018 The committee also says the NIH should spearhead an effort to come up with a new quality-control system that could serve as an alternative to CLIA to make sure all study data is up to snuff. Megan Thielking, STAT, "National Academies panel urges researchers to routinely share test results with study participants," 10 July 2018 Make sure the cause of the breakup is no longer an issue. Jenna Birch,, "You've Already Broken Up Once—Here’s How to Know if the Relationship Can Really Work," 10 July 2018 When choosing racks for this recipe, whether baby backs or full spareribs, make sure that the meat is well marbled with fat, and that there’s a substantial cushion of meat between the bones. Julia Moskin, New York Times, "Mastering Chinese-Style Ribs at Home," 9 July 2018 Driving reminders Make sure your car is ready for those summer road trips with the app Drivvo, which is free for iOS and Android. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Top Picks: PBS’s 'No Passport Required,' 'Oh Lucy!' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more," 6 July 2018 There is emotional intensity, to be sure, given the enormous stakes and the virtual certainty that Kavanaugh's confirmation would significantly shift the high court to the right. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Kavanaugh's baseball debts: Why the nominee's opponents are striking out," 13 July 2018 To be sure, the group’s leaders have committed to revealing who the donors are, as Erika Storlie, Evanston’s assistant city manager told me. Blair Kamin,, "Evanston plan to demolish Harley Clarke mansion: Public vision or hidden agendas?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Faculty at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College are making sure their students have enough to eat. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "TSTC’s newest campus sends first SkillsUSA competitor to nationals," 15 June 2018 Kaepernick had flaws as a passer, sure, but his legs brought enough explosiveness and dimension to still take San Francisco’s offense to Super Bowl XLVII. Andy Benoit,, "Lamar Jackson’s Time Is Coming, Sooner Than You Think," 2 May 2018 Whether an investor is a millennial looking to ditch their roommate, or a retiree making sure all of their ducks are in a row, there seems to be one constant variable: the tendency to include one’s home in their investment portfolio. Eduardo Gruener, miamiherald, "No, your house is not an investment," 9 July 2018 To make sure the largest states do not dominate the rest, the constitution provides equal representation for all the states, large and small alike. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Orlando City’s collective defending has been an issue, sure. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City sees reasons roller-coaster season can be fixed," 7 July 2018 There’s a trade-off between a totally neutral platform and making sure the highest quality content thrives. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Checks Facts and Polices Hate Speech," 6 July 2018 If Jepsen didn’t notice his ascent into the state’s upper echelon of players, opposing coaches sure did. Logan Malloy, Daily Southtown, "Simply marvelous: Marist's Marty Jepsen is the 2018 Daily Southtown Boys Volleyball Player of the Year," 14 June 2018 Fitzpatrick sure seemed like one of the good ones Friday. Adam H. Beasley, miamiherald, "Minkah Fitzpatrick, former junior auto mechanic, could be Dolphins' Mr. Fix-It | Miami Herald," 11 May 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sure


Middle English seur, sure, from Anglo-French seur, from Latin securus secure

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Learn More about sure

Dictionary Entries near sure





sure bet


sure enough

Statistics for sure

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sure

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

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More Definitions for sure



English Language Learners Definition of sure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not having any doubt about something : convinced or certain

: not allowing any doubt or possibility of failure

: known to be true or correct



English Language Learners Definition of sure (Entry 2 of 2)

—used to say “yes” or to agree to a request or suggestion

—used to disagree with a negative statement or suggestion

—used to emphasize that you agree with the first part of the statement that you are about to make


\ ˈshu̇r \
surer; surest

Kids Definition of sure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having no doubt : certain … he could not be sure if the scream awakened him or the pain in his stomach. —Gary Paulsen, Hatchet

2 : true without question

3 : firmly established a sure grip

4 : reliable, trustworthy a sure remedy

5 : bound to happen sure disaster

6 : bound as if by fate You are sure to win.



Kids Definition of sure (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : surely sense 2 Sure, we'll be there. “Well, you sure gave me some bad moments. I almost passed out …” —Oliver Butterworth, The Enormous Egg

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Comments on sure

What made you want to look up sure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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