\ ˈshu̇r How to pronounce sure (audio) , ˈshər, especially Southern ˈshȯr\
surer; surest

Definition of sure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2 : admitting of no doubt : indisputable spoke from sure knowledge
3a : bound, destined is sure to win
b : bound to happen : inevitable sure disaster
4 : careful to remember, attend to, or find out something be sure to lock the door
5 : firmly established : steadfast a sure hold
6 : reliable, trustworthy a sure friend
7 obsolete : safe from danger or harm
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

Passengers and air-crew unions, on the other hand, will want to be sure that flights are safe, and seek a more precautionary approach. Washington Post, "Fate of 737 Max Could Turn On a Single Trump Tweet," 18 Sep. 2019 Officers still aren’t sure where the bird native to Australia escaped from, the Bee reported. Fox News, "California Highway Patrol officers capture fugitive emu on freeway," 15 Sep. 2019 In short, make sure your home is properly sealed and protected from the outdoors—or you may be visited by some unwanted guests this winter. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Experts Just Issued a Serious Warning Following the Farmers’ Almanac Winter Forecast," 10 Sep. 2019 Just bust out a laptop or smartphone and make sure your internet connection is solid. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How to Watch Today's Apple iPhone Announcement Live," 10 Sep. 2019 Some of these tasks might include set-up, registration, moving supplies around, and making sure meal-packing volunteers are safe and comfortable. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Remembering 9/11: Events in California to honor 18th anniversary of terror attacks," 9 Sep. 2019 Scientists still aren’t sure what causes superbolts, which make up less than one-thousandth of a percent of all global strikes. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "The world’s strongest lightning hits—not in summer—but from November to February," 9 Sep. 2019 Do your research Double-check your facts (noting that managers often have more up-to-date or comprehensive information at their disposal) to make sure that an error has actually been made before speaking up. 2. Scott Steinberg, Quartz at Work, "The best way to correct your boss when they’ve made a mistake," 9 Sep. 2019 Using hydrogen, or making sure the batteries are originally charged using renewable energy sources, could make a difference. Washington Post, "Why Electric-Powered Airplanes Are Headed for Takeoff," 18 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Not real sure what South Carolina was doing on kickoffs. Michael Casagrande |, al, "A few extra observations, context from Alabama win at South Carolina," 15 Sep. 2019 There are modern buildings, sure, such as the shiny Scottish parliament, but Scandi or Japanese-style minimalism doesn’t feature quite as prominently. Rick Jordan, Condé Nast Traveler, "My Favorite Airbnb in Edinburgh: A Minimalist Haven in Old Town," 6 Sep. 2019 However, restoring your hair post-protective style before jumping back into your regular hair regimen is just as important to making sure your mane remains healthy and strong. Essence, "4 Steps To Restoring Your Hair After a Protective Style," 3 Sep. 2019 As a moment’s reflection on business history demonstrates, there is no sure-fire route to glory. The Economist, "Running a company is a permanent juggling act," 29 Aug. 2019 Our instinct is often to switch to something more immediately enjoyable—scrolling through Instagram, playing a game on our phones, or, sure, binge-watching 55 episodes of Friends. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "What to do when you’re bored at work," 27 Aug. 2019 Yes, sure, such and such an organization is honoring those who contribute to the art of such and such. Matthew Gilbert,, "The week in watching: Surrendering to the ‘Breaking Bad’ sequel, vacuous VMAs, and Disney+ goes old school," 25 Aug. 2019 And sure, to have your name on that contribution for all time—who doesn't want to touch immortality? Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Elusive Price—and Prize—of Fame on the Internet," 20 Aug. 2019 Sticking to a schedule helps, and so does making sure everyone is on the same page. Lizz Schumer, Woman's Day, "'The Deuce' Star Maggie Gyllenhaal Shares Her Back-to-School Tips," 21 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of sure


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


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

20 Oct 2019

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
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

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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

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