\ˈshu̇r, 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

Chalk it up to the Cardi B effect, sure, but more than just having one of the most enthusiastic, authentic spokeswomen and collaborators, Fashion Nova’s rise represents something larger in fashion: community. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Nostalgia Is Officially the Biggest Fashion Trend of 2018," 12 Dec. 2018 For sure, there isn’t much evidence that the trade conflict itself is the main problem for Chinese exports so far—instead, the culprit looks to be slower global growth, particularly in Europe. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "November Trade Winds Blow China Off Course," 10 Dec. 2018 No one knows for sure when Jews first arrived on the island. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 Scientists aren’t sure of their root cause, but there appears to be a genetic component, since migraines run in families. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator to keep the oils from going rancid. Max Falkowitz, WSJ, "Flake News: Fresh Coconut Is Delicious," 23 Nov. 2018 To be sure, the rewards of the digital economy have been highly concentrated, not only in a relatively few metros but also in relatively few hands of our Digital Gilded Age. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "In America’s ‘geography of despair,’ how to help the left-behind places?," 21 Nov. 2018 Whatever your method, just be sure to bring sunglasses and bundle up—the weather in NYC this year looks to be sunny but cold. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 2018 Information and Event History," 21 Nov. 2018 These deals follow what was advertised in previous years, so be sure to check with your local store closer to November 22 on the latest offers. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways to Score a Free Turkey for Thanksgiving This Year," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Awkward for them, sure, but amazing for the rest of us. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Gave Hailey Baldwin a Lie Detector Test About Justin Bieber for Carpool Karaoke," 16 Oct. 2018 On the menu: Steaks and seafood, sure, but also specialty entrees such as baby back pork ribs and roasted half chicken. Donald Liebenson,, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Beelow's NorthShore in Highland Park," 11 July 2018 In general, sure, but particularly on the planet's leading source of information: Facebook. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "Facebook Opens Its Private Servers to Scientists Studying Fake News," 11 July 2018 Get through that stretch no worse than 8-8 and, sure, .500 the rest of the way is doable. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Are Cincinnati Reds .500 team now? Ask me at All-Star break," 28 June 2018 Not real sure why Bam Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. are there except to maybe fill out the roster, mentor Heat Culture and maybe work on something. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Could it be (with patience) that the Heat's glass is half full?," 24 June 2018 Well, maybe he was born to win an Olympic medal and inspire millions of people around the country, but sure, born to do this show as well. The Washington Post,, "'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Adam Rippon is stunning, Tonya Harding on the brink of elimination," 1 May 2018 Part of it, sure, is the whimsy of seeing a beyond-your-wildest-dreams treehouse come together. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Pete Nelson's Latest Project Proves He's The Ultimate Treehouse Master," 4 Oct. 2018 While nu-metal bands sure as hell weren’t politically progressive, their mixing of genres and audiences felt ahead of its time. Richard S. He, Billboard, "August 18, 1998: Korn, Kid Rock, Orgy & The Biggest Day in Nu-Metal History," 30 May 2018

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

15 Dec 2018

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

: known to be true or correct



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 \
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).


a nest or breeding place

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