certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce certain (audio) \

Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fixed, settled a certain percentage of the profit
2 : of a specific but unspecified character, quantity, or degree the house has a certain charm
3a : dependable, reliable a certain remedy for the disease
b : known or proved to be true : indisputable it is certain that we exist
4a : inevitable the certain advance of age
b : incapable of failing : destined used with a following infinitive she is certain to do well
5 : assured in mind or action I am certain they are right
for certain
: as a certainty : assuredly the cause is not known for certain
of a certain age
: of a somewhat advanced age : no longer young remembered by people of a certain age

Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

: certain ones certain of my generation— W. B. Yeats

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Synonyms for certain

Synonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for certain

Adjective

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

Examples of certain in a Sentence

Adjective I'm fairly certain that I'll be on time. a certain person told me that today is your birthday
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Like all educators, Wagner is keeping close tabs on COVID-19 rates during the pandemic to make certain the school community is safe. Karen Ann Cullotta, chicagotribune.com, 11 Oct. 2021 What is certain is the series has shifted back to Fenway, and the Red Sox are guaranteed two games after a split in St. Petersburg. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Oct. 2021 More than a month into this season, the only thing that's certain is that UConn and UMass represent the worst of the worst. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 9 Oct. 2021 Neither the singer herself nor her record label have confirmed the title or release date, but one thing is certain: Adele is coming. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 However, officials are not certain whether the tar is from the spill or normal ocean debris that sometimes washes ashore, said Terry Gorman Brown, a management analyst with the city manager’s office in Oceanside. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 One thing is certain: The need for changes in federal drug policy is immense. Daniel Fernandez, The New Republic, 7 Oct. 2021 The painting is certain to sell, courtesy of a pre-auction financial guarantee, and is estimated to raise more than $40 million. Scott Reyburn, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 One thing that is certain is Thompson’s district, which now covers western Orange County and includes Winter Garden, Windermere and Disney World, will change. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, 5 Oct. 2021

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

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Pronoun, plural in construction

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for certain

Adjective

Middle English certeyn, certayne, borrowed from Anglo-French certein, certain, going back to Vulgar Latin *certānus, from Latin certus "fixed, settled, indisputable," originally past participle of cernere "to sift, discern, decide, determine" (going back to an Indo-European present stem *kri-n-, verbal adjective *kri-to-, from a verbal base *krei̯̯̯(h1)- "sift, separate," whence Greek krī́nein "to separate, choose, decide," verbal adjective kritós, Welsh gogrynu "to sift") + -ānus + -an entry 2

Pronoun, plural in construction

Middle English certyn, derivative of certeyn certain entry 1

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Time Traveler for certain

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near certain

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certain

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Statistics for certain

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Certain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certain. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for certain

certain

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not having any doubt about something : convinced or sure
used with it to say that something is known to be true or correct
used to say that something will definitely happen or that someone will definitely do something often followed by to + verb

certain

pronoun

English Language Learners Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

: certain ones : particular members of a group : some

certain

adjective
cer·​tain | \ ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce certain (audio) \

Kids Definition of certain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : without any doubt : sure Are you certain you saw her?
2 : known to be true It's certain that they were here.
3 : known but not named A certain person told me.
4 : being fixed or settled a certain percentage of the profit
5 : bound by the way things are Our plan is certain to succeed.
6 : sure to have an effect a certain cure

certain

pronoun

Kids Definition of certain (Entry 2 of 2)

: known ones that are not named Certain of the students could work harder.

More from Merriam-Webster on certain

Nglish: Translation of certain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of certain for Arabic Speakers

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