\ ˈshu̇r How to pronounce sure (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Chinese elites appear sure that President Donald Trump’s America is willing to hurt their children, as part of a racist scheme to keep China down. The Economist, "Few things worry China’s elite more than getting their kids into Harvard," 13 July 2019 But as other cities follow the example of Los Angeles, that figure is sure to fall. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Giant batteries and cheap solar power are shoving fossil fuels off the grid," 11 July 2019 Congress should make sure that, for residents of those states that legalize cannabis, too, trade is free, fair, and regular. Ilya Shapiro, National Review, "Congress Needs to Settle the Looming Cannabis-Regulation Fight," 10 July 2019 To be sure, his platform resisted all attempts at pigeonholing. Gilbert Garcia,, "Bitter medicine of Perot’s 1992 campaign wouldn’t sell today," 10 July 2019 Every sentence Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to Congress this week is sure to be parsed by investors who expect -- and hope -- the Fed will cut interest rates later this month for the first time in a decade. CBS News, "Would Powell exit Fed chair if Trump fired him? "No," he tells Congress," 10 July 2019 Sidewalk Labs describes the creation of an independent agency to manage data collection agreements with companies and make sure the collection is beneficial for the community. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Alphabet's plans to track people in its 'smart city' ring alarm bells," 9 July 2019 The other quarter is made up of whatever wisecracks your veteran waiter is sure to dole out. Bon Appétit, "There are restaurant lists with rankings. And there are restaurant lists with purpose. This is the latter.," 9 July 2019 Efforts are under way to create an official association of paid and volunteer emergency medical responders to make sure the profession is aware of what's happening in Hartford and has an opportunity to influence legislation from now on. Susan Haigh,, "Emergency medical workers want a voice at state Capitol," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

For men, the shot conveys luxury and ease, but beneath the sunny exterior lie depths of alienation, depression and, sure, nihilism. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "Women Crash the Pool Party," 3 July 2019 Over decades, community organizers have developed processes for building consensus and rallying the troops, making sure all voices feel heard. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Employee activism is great—until it pits colleagues against each other," 1 June 2019 Years ago, his arrival in Houston was thought to signal an opening of the floodgates, with scores of Chinese talents sure to follow his path. Alex Prewitt,, "One Big Dream: Yao Ming Wants to Make Chinese Basketball Global," 27 June 2019 Compliance is all about making sure a business adheres to rules, regulations and laws. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "When your job is to teach corporations to do the right thing," 26 June 2019 It sure as heck is filled with a lot of emotion, schedule changes, financial changes and sleepless nights. Teresa M. Pelham,, "Kiss & Tell: She’s Still Not Divorced And Wonders Why Men She Dates Seem Less Understanding," 24 June 2019 And sure, the callbacks and inside jokes bounce along charmingly at first, invoking not just Jarmusch's oeuvre, but that of his stars. Ann Hornaday,, "'The Dead Don't Die' review: Jim Jarmusch's zombie tale lumbers along," 13 June 2019 Randy Shropshire Getty Images Things sure aren’t sparkling. Andrew Hirschfeld, Fortune, "Does LaCroix Contain Chemicals? Here's What Two Separate Lawsuits Allege," 13 June 2019 Knight, 6-foot-4 and 193 pounds, is a sure-fire future NHLer from the U.S. National Development Program. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Analysis: Pavel Francouz appears to be the Avalanche’s No. 2 goalie, but …," 13 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sure

Dictionary Entries near sure





sure bet


sure enough

Statistics for sure

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sure

The first known use of sure was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
used to say that something will definitely happen or that someone will definitely do something usually followed by to + verb



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 How to pronounce sure (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

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!