sure·​ty | \ˈshu̇r(-ə)-tē, ˈshər-\
plural sureties

Definition of surety 

1 : the state of being sure: such as

a : sure knowledge : certainty

b : confidence in manner or behavior : assurance

2a : a formal engagement (such as a pledge) given for the fulfillment of an undertaking : guarantee

b : a basis of confidence or security

3 : one who has become legally liable for the debt, default, or failure in duty of another

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Other Words from surety

suretyship \ ˈshu̇r(-​ə)-​tē-​ˌship , ˈshər-​ \ noun

Examples of surety in a Sentence

As sureties, they will be liable in his place. gave his surety that he would pay back the loan if his sister was unable to for any reason

Recent Examples on the Web

Judge Samuel Cappas lowered Smith’s bail to $10,000 surety and $1,000 cash. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Judge lowers bail for man charged in Gary shootout with ATF agents," 27 June 2018 Anton remained in the county jail Thursday with bail amounts set at $150,000 cash or surety and $15,000, cash only. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Ex-teacher accused of having ongoing sexual contact with teen, Missouri sheriff says," 28 June 2018 Smith’s bail was previously set at $50,000 surety, $5,000 cash, court records show. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Judge lowers bail for man charged in Gary shootout with ATF agents," 27 June 2018 Hamelin faced no such troubles, the surety of his technique matched by the poetry and jazz-blues sensitivities of his interpretation. Howard Reich,, "Gregory Porter sounds sumptuous with CSO," 12 June 2018 The limit essentially sets the amount of credit a surety company will provide to a contractor. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's demolition program under fire for lack of diversity," 16 June 2018 The surety companies that write bail bonds in single state or small regions are particularly vulnerable to reforms, according to A.M. Best. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Latest Casualty of Government Regulation: Bail-Bond Insurance," 7 June 2018 Over objections from police and prosecutors, 36th District Judge William McConico had lowered Traylor's bond from $3 million to $100,000, cash or surety, and released him on an electronic tether. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit police chief blasts judge in case of man who allegedly cut tether," 26 May 2018 When test subjects are reminded of earlier wrongdoing, their surety about themselves takes a hit. Steve Ayan, Scientific American, "10 Things You Don’t Know About Yourself," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surety.' 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 surety

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surety

Middle English seurte, from Anglo-French seurté, from Latin securitat-, securitas security, from securus

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Time Traveler for surety

The first known use of surety was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of surety

law : money that you give as a guarantee that you will do what you are legally required to do (such as to appear in court)

law : someone who agrees to be legally responsible if another person fails to pay a debt or to perform a duty

: the state of being or feeling sure or certain


sure·​ty | \ˈshu̇r-ə-tē \
plural sureties

Legal Definition of surety 

1 : a formal engagement (as a pledge) given for the fulfillment of an undertaking

2 : one (as an accommodation party) who promises to answer for the debt or default of another

Note: At common law a surety is distinguished from a guarantor by being immediately liable as opposed to becoming liable only upon default of the principal. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, however, a surety includes a guarantor, and the two terms are generally interchangeable.

History and Etymology for surety

Anglo-French seurté, literally, guarantee, security, from Old French, from Latin securitat- securitas, from securus secure

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Comments on surety

What made you want to look up surety? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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