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

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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

In what is surely a plus, the new steward will also get to live in the castle itself. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Calling All Green Thumbs! A Legendary British Island Is Looking to Hire a Resident Gardener," 5 June 2019 But there is one aspect of the Yahoo piece that Kerr, as a coach rather than a media figure, would surely disavow today. New York Times, "In 2003, Steve Kerr Created the Perfect Shooter. In 2019, He Coaches Him.," 5 June 2019 That task is surely among the many new goal cards now stuck to his walls. Nick Moyle,, "Quarterback’s eyes always were upon Texas," 4 June 2019 DuVernay’s miniseries surely drives that point home. Danielle Cadet,, "When They See Us," 4 June 2019 If your mother has tried to harm herself in the past — regardless of her reasons for it — surely others are aware of it. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Mom’s meddling adds stress to the arrival of first baby," 3 June 2019 Below: Images from our review of the Apple Watch Series 4, which watchOS 6 will surely support even though the Series 5 is expected to launch around the same time as watchOS 6. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote next week," 31 May 2019 Mr López Obrador will surely not plunge Mexico into tyranny and destitution the way Chávez did Venezuela. The Economist, "How Andrés Manuel López Obrador will remake Mexico," 23 June 2018 The change in production location for the EUV is surely a factor, and GM has been in a period of major lineup restructuring recently. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Will Be GM's Next Electric Car," 21 May 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.

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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

8 Jun 2019

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 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.

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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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