sure·​ly | \ˈshu̇r-lē, 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This is only the first of what will surely be many, many Murder House and Coven crossovers and references made in Apocalypse, so keep an eye out, folks. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, ""American Horror Story: Apocalypse" Is Here and So Is Demon Child Michael Langdon," 13 Sep. 2018 The idea that traditional makeup is solely for women is a societal construct, which is slowly (but surely!) being broken down. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Chanel Is Launching Boy de Chanel, a Makeup Line "for Men"," 20 Aug. 2018 There will surely be more fishing, rides on his moped and trips to the beach. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Marriotts Ridge junior Josh Olsufka captures baseball Player of the Year," 20 June 2018 This is surely as legitimately deductible a tax allowance as can be imagined. Charles Mccabe, San Francisco Chronicle, "Motherhood???, Charles McCabe, 1975," 14 June 2018 Though Kermit and his fellow icons will surely be star attractions, Montagano hopes Imagination Unlimited will illuminate what Henson stood for. Andy Hermann, Los Angeles Magazine, "Historic Muppets and Other Jim Henson Artifacts Move Into the Skirball," 30 May 2018 These clues together with the Spellman Mortuary's phone number could surely indicate both Riverdale and Greendale’s real whereabouts, given their close proximity. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "The "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Spellman Mortuary Has a Very Real U.S. Area Code," 16 Nov. 2018 But one audience member — Trump — will surely be pleased. Alex Ward, Vox, "Mattis: military deployment to the US-Mexico border is “necessary”," 14 Nov. 2018 Others predicted the internet giant would surely recoil from our scurrilous treatment by relocating to a red state. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "We freaked out over Amazon’s HQ2 search. But it turned out to be for all the wrong reasons," 13 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of surely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for surely

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surely

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

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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 \

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.

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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

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