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

Customize your spread with breakfast faves your guests will surely savor. 5. Taysha Murtaugh And Nicol Natale, Woman's Day, "15 Restaurants Open for Easter Brunch Near Me," 11 Feb. 2019 And yet slowly but surely, the trend is beginning to percolate here. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Caroline Polachek Turns a Sick Day Into a Major Fashion Moment," 28 Jan. 2019 Behich beat the offside trap well, but failed to find Cahill when an accurate pass would surely have seen the deficit halved., "Australia 0-2 Peru: Socceroos Eliminated as Incas Bid Farewell With First World Cup Win in 40 Years," 26 June 2018 White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said this week that the president is open to having the students visit the White House after the government reopens, which would surely ignite a new firestorm. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "Behind the PR Machine That Helped Change the Nick Sandmann Narrative," 25 Jan. 2019 That’s surely enough time to get out those stubborn stains. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Carpet Cleaners to Buy in 2019," 15 Jan. 2019 Pregnancy style has surely never looked as ethereal as this. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Kehlani’s New Pregnancy Style Proves That She’s an Ethereal Earth Goddess," 11 Jan. 2019 Since Riverdale’s 2016 premiere and, obviously, along with some hard work, Camila is surely getting the hang of Hollywood. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Turned an Internship Into Her Starring "Riverdale" Role," 8 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, a number of other companies, like the French startup Blade and chip maker Nvidia, have existing game streaming services that are slowly but surely getting better. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Google is giving away Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free if you demo Project Stream," 18 Dec. 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

16 Feb 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 \

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

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).


a servile follower or underling

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