sure·​ly | \ ˈshu̇r-lē How to pronounce surely (audio) , ˈshər-, especially Southern ˈshȯr-\

Definition of surely

1 : in a sure manner:
a archaic : without danger or risk of injury or loss : safely
b(1) : with assurance : confidently answered quickly and surely
(2) : without doubt : certainly they will surely be heard from in the future— R. J. Lifton
2 : indeed, really often used as an intensive you surely don't believe that

Keep scrolling for more

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 surely in a Sentence

She answered quickly and surely. He will surely be missed. This is surely the best dessert you have ever made. Surely you must admit that it was a good decision.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Plus, when the duo moves in following a multi-million pound renovation, Frogmore will surely be a forever home—perhaps for Meghan's mom, Doria, too. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Are Moving To Windsor Estate," 26 Nov. 2018 Sheffield likely will start in the minors but will almost surely get called up to the show barring injuries. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "If you like spring training, you’re in luck. The Mariners’ season will be six months of it.," 27 Mar. 2019 Slowly but surely, a new generation of Israeli labels is finding its way onto international red carpets. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "At Tel Aviv Fashion Week: Celeb-Beloved Designers, Young Talents, and Diverse Runways," 21 Mar. 2019 As with all things GoT, there will surely be a Reddit thread dedicated to theorizing about what Turner's caption tells us about Sansa's fate on the show. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "This Video of Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner Chugging Wine at a Hockey Game Is Everything," 20 Mar. 2019 Fortnite is slowly but surely muscling into everyone’s territory. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fortnite adds planes and now people are playing it like Battlefield," 6 Dec. 2018 Travel bloggers have taken over our Instagram feeds slowly but surely—and are giving us major FOMO in the process. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Treehouse Airbnb is All Over Instagram—And It's Only $38 a Night," 1 Mar. 2019 Anyone who's been keeping up with The Masked Singer has surely noticed the carnival theme prominently featured in the Rabbit's weekly clue reels. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "There's No Question That Joey Fatone Is the Rabbit on 'The Masked Singer'," 17 Feb. 2019 Anyone working to bring down the costs would surely find interested buyers. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Engineer Teen Builds His Own Prosthesis From Lego," 8 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of surely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surely

Statistics for surely

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surely

The first known use of surely was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surely



English Language Learners Definition of surely

: in a confident way
: without a doubt
used in negative statements to show surprise that something could be true


sure·​ly | \ ˈshu̇r-lē How to pronounce surely (audio) \

Kids Definition of surely

1 : without doubt It's a book you will surely enjoy.
2 : beyond question : really I surely do miss them.
3 : with confidence : confidently He answered their questions surely.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on surely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surely

Spanish Central: Translation of surely

Nglish: Translation of surely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surely for Arabic Speakers

Comments on surely

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!