en·​sure | \ in-ˈshu̇r How to pronounce ensure (audio) \
ensured; ensuring

Definition of ensure

transitive verb

: to make sure, certain, or safe : guarantee

Choose the Right Synonym for ensure

ensure, insure, assure, secure mean to make a thing or person sure. ensure, insure, and assure are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or inevitable of an outcome, but ensure may imply a virtual guarantee the government has ensured the safety of the refugees , while insure sometimes stresses the taking of necessary measures beforehand careful planning should insure the success of the party , and assure distinctively implies the removal of doubt and suspense from a person's mind. I assure you that no harm will be done secure implies action taken to guard against attack or loss. sent reinforcements to secure their position

Do you ensure or insure?

There is considerable confusion about whether ensure and insure are distinct words, variants of the same word, or some combination of the two. They are in fact different words, but with sufficient overlap in meaning and form as to create uncertainty as to which should be used when. We define ensure as “to make sure, certain, or safe” and one sense of insure, “to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions,” is quite similar. But insure has the additional meaning “to provide or obtain insurance on or for,” which is not shared by ensure. Some usage guides recommend using insure in financial contexts (as in “she insured her book collection for a million dollars”) and ensure in the general sense “to make certain” (as in “she ensured that the book collection was packed well”).

Examples of ensure in a Sentence

A combination of … personal courage, dashing leadership from the front, willingness to share the toughest rigours suffered by the ordinary soldiers, and a liberal dose of sheer good fortune ensured his stature as a great general. — Paul Cartledge, History Today, July 2004 Indeed, even though she's been off the mainstream radar for more than a decade, her passionate love for and commitment to rock & roll have ensured that she's managed to make a steady living. — Tom Sinclair, Entertainment Weekly, 24 Nov. 2000 At 20, [Kobe] Bryant is already living the modern American dream, a $70 million man on the NBA's glamour team in the nation's starriest city. His acrobatic moves make him the envy of teenage boys and his good looks and megawatt smile a heartthrob for teenage girls, ensuring his status as one of the NBA's premier pitchmen … — Allison Samuels et al., Newsweek, 31 May 1999 They took steps to ensure the safety of the passengers. regulations that ensure the wholesomeness of our food
Recent Examples on the Web Landing rocket boosters instead of discarding them in the ocean, as other rocket companies have done for decades, is at the core of SpaceX's and Blue Origin's plans to bring down the cost of a launch and ensure profitability. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 23 June 2022 The operational readiness designation allows Metro to simulate service, run emergency drills with first responders, work out security issues, fully train workers and ensure that construction issues are resolved before taking full possession. Lori Aratani, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 Companies need to provide a wide variety of connection opportunities—social clubs, events and more—and must ensure everyone is invited and feels truly welcomed. Natalie Baumgartner, Forbes, 22 June 2022 Congress must work towards solutions that preserve our environment for the next generation and ensure a greener, healthier future for all Americans. Baltimore Sun, 22 June 2022 The change will increase the number of teams competing at a regional from six or seven to 12-14 and essentially ensure competition at all weight classes. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 22 June 2022 One dollar of each ticket sale will go to PLUS1, which supports non-profits working to secure social justice, ensure mental health care for all, and confront the climate crisis. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 21 June 2022 Some of the coming renovations to the decades-old buildings are designed to improve energy efficiency, upgrade the heating and cooling systems and ensure that new restrooms and lockers meet the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act. New York Times, 19 June 2022 Take the time to wash, clean, repair, sand, and seal your deck annually to protect it and ensure its longevity. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ensure.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ensure

1660, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ensure

Middle English, from Anglo-French ensurer, alteration of assurer — more at assure

Learn More About ensure

Dictionary Entries Near ensure




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ensure

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ensure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ensure. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ensure


en·​sure | \ in-ˈshu̇r How to pronounce ensure (audio) \
ensured; ensuring

Kids Definition of ensure

: to make sure, certain, or safe : guarantee The crossing guard ensures our safety as we cross the street.

More from Merriam-Webster on ensure

Nglish: Translation of ensure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ensure for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!