\ ˈshu̇r How to pronounce sure (audio) , 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

No one from the outside (including me) can know for sure, but the evidence strongly points to the original injury and the new one to be related. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Three big questions the day after Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury," 11 June 2019 Without Horton and Casey in the opposing dugouts, Civil War baseball will be a little strange, for sure., "Down, down goes the Pac-12; OSU Beavers, Oregon Ducks look to next year: Diamonds & Dust," 10 June 2019 That’s the extent of what his family knows for sure. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Mysterious Prison Death Leaves Family Searching For Answers A Year Later," 10 June 2019 And Withers says researchers need to make sure the microbial enzymes have not inadvertently altered anything else on the red blood cell that could produce problems. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Type A blood converted to universal donor blood with help from bacterial enzymes," 10 June 2019 To be sure, programs like the writing institute require considerably more time and money than sending home a one-page menu of suggestions for families. Kelly Chandler-olcott, The Conversation, "What advice articles miss about ‘summer loss’," 10 June 2019 In essence, Apple is adding an extra intermediary step, making sure the app doesn’t know your email and that third parties can’t combine data to get a picture of your activity across multiple apps. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Apple’s new sign-in button is built for a post-Cambridge Analytica world," 8 June 2019 Rather than waiting until the TIF is enacted in four months, the city wants to disburse the loan immediately, and wanted to make sure the agreement stated that if the TIF is not established, Urban Equity still has to repay the loan to the city. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora amends agreement on Terminal Building redevelopment," 5 June 2019 Anyone who interacts with patients can come to their hospital’s Rounds–surgeons, nurses, occupational therapists, the janitors who make sure the floors are clean but not too slippery. Corinne Purtill, Quartz at Work, "A simple strategy helps doctors fight burnout. Could it work for the rest of us?," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

And sure, the callbacks and inside jokes bounce along charmingly at first, invoking not just Jarmusch's oeuvre, but that of his stars. Ann Hornaday,, "'The Dead Don't Die' review: Jim Jarmusch's zombie tale lumbers along," 13 June 2019 Randy Shropshire Getty Images Things sure aren’t sparkling. Andrew Hirschfeld, Fortune, "Does LaCroix Contain Chemicals? Here's What Two Separate Lawsuits Allege," 13 June 2019 Knight, 6-foot-4 and 193 pounds, is a sure-fire future NHLer from the U.S. National Development Program. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Analysis: Pavel Francouz appears to be the Avalanche’s No. 2 goalie, but …," 13 June 2019 Here are 15-plus restaurants and businesses in the Louisville area that are serving up special meals or deals sure to put a smile on his face this Father's Day 2019. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Here are 15+ spots around Louisville to grab some grub with Dad for Father's Day," 10 June 2019 Long after the cameras cut away, the women were all still onstage, each making sure no singing companion had gone unhugged. Nancy Kruh,, "From Impromptu Dancing to Sweet Cuddles: Here's What You Didn't See on TV at the 2019 CMT Awards," 6 June 2019 Some ladies, and young girls, sure did try and go speak up. Michelle Theriault Boots, ProPublica, "“No More Silence”: Her Kidnapping, Sexual Assault and Murder Stunned a Town, and Started a Movement," 4 June 2019 From someone who's not so Hollywood, Amal Clooney sure knows how to do glamor just like the movie stars. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Amal Clooney Gives Old Hollywood Glamour Better Than A Movie Star," 10 May 2019 Thankfully, Lyanna stuck around as Weiss noted, and became a key character in helping elect Jon as King in the North in Season 7 and making sure all of the Bear Island troops were prepared to fight in the Battle of Winterfell. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island Was Only Supposed to Be in One Scene of "Game of Thrones"," 29 Apr. 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near sure





sure bet

sure enough


Statistics for sure

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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
used to say that something will definitely happen or that someone will definitely do something usually followed by to + verb



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 How to pronounce sure (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on sure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sure

Spanish Central: Translation of sure

Nglish: Translation of sure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sure for Arabic Speakers

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).


showing courage and determination

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