certainty


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cer·tain·ty

 (sûr′tn-tē)
n. pl. cer·tain·ties
1. The fact, quality, or state of being certain, especially:
a. Inevitability: the certainty of death.
b. The quality of being established as true: the certainty that the earth orbits the sun.
c. Confidence; assurance: his certainty that things would get better.
2. Something that is clearly established or assured: "On the field of battle there are no certainties" (Tom Clancy).

certainty

(ˈsɜːtəntɪ)
n, pl -ties
1. the condition of being certain
2. something established as certain or inevitable
3. for a certainty without doubt

cer•tain•ty

(ˈsɜr tn ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. the state of being certain.
2. something certain; an assured fact.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French]

Certainty

 
  1. Absolute as a miser’s greed —Anon
  2. An absolute, like the firmness of the earth —Tom Wolfe
  3. Almost as predictable as the arrival of solstice and equinox —Russell Baker, New York Times/Observer, September 17, 1986

    Baker’s comparison referred to Chief-Justice-to-be William Rehnquist’s judicial opinions.

  4. As certain as a gun —Samuel Butler
  5. As certain as beach traffic in July —Anon
  6. As certain as bodies moved with greater impulse, progress more rapidly than those moved with less —Voltaire
  7. As certain as death and taxes —Daniel Defoe

    Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the simile continues to be popular, with many humorous twists such as “Certain as death and hay-fever,” used in Philip Barry’s 1923 play, You and I.

  8. As certain as dye penetrates cotton —Daniela Gioseffi

    The simile, from a poem, continues with “The orange is a part of the living animal.”

  9. As certain as end-of-the season inventories —Anon
  10. As certain as June graduates scanning the want ads —Anon
  11. As certain as leaves falling in September —Anon
  12. As certain as lines at return counters after Christmas —Anon
  13. As certain as rise of taxi meter —Anon
  14. As certain as that a crooked tree will have a crooked shadow —Anon
  15. As certain as that bread crumbs will attract a flock of pigeons —Anon
  16. As certain as that leaves will fall in autumn —Anon
  17. As certain as that night succeeds the day —George Washington
  18. As certain as that your shadow will follow you —Anon
  19. As certain as the morning —Thomas Wolfe
  20. As certain as the sunrise —Anon
  21. As certain as thunderclap following lightning —Anon
  22. As certain as wrinkles —Anon
  23. As certainly as day follows day —Anon
  24. As certainly as Segovia had been born to finger a fretboard or Willie Mays to swing a bat —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  25. As inevitable as a dog at a hydrant —Anon
  26. As inevitable as the turning of the earth on which you stand —Harvey Swados
  27. As sure as a club —Mary Hedin
  28. As sure as a goose goes barefoot —American colloquialism, attributed to Northeast
  29. As sure as a tested hypothesis —Lorrie Moore
  30. As sure as a wheel is round —American colloquialism
  31. As sure as behave and misbehave —John Ciardi
  32. As sure as day —William Shakespeare
  33. As sure as death —William Shakespeare
  34. As sure as death —Ben Jonson

    Jonson’s use of this simile in Every Man in His Humor if not the first, is certainly one of the earliest encountered.

  35. As sure as meat will fry —American colloquialism, attributed to Southeast
  36. As sure as rain —Ben Ames Williams

    A more specific variation of this is “Sure as rain in April.”

  37. As sure as shooting —Anon

    This common expression probably stems from the no longer used “Sure as a gun,” variously attributed to the poet John Dryden and the playwright William Congreve.

  38. Sure as shooting —American colloquialism
  39. As sure as snakes crawl —American colloquialism, attributed to Midwest
  40. As surely as that two ends of a seesaw cannot both be elevated at the same time —Alexander Woolcott
  41. As surely as the eye tends to be long-sighted in the sailor and shortsighted in the student —Herbert Spencer
  42. As surely as the harvest comes after the seedtime —John Brown
  43. As surely as the tree becomes bulky when it stands alone and slender if one of a group —Herbert Spencer
  44. As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn —Rudyard Kipling
  45. As unpreventable as blinking your eyes when a light flashes suddenly —Anon
  46. Certain things will follow inevitably, just like a little trail of horseshit behind a fat old draught horse —George Garrett
  47. Definite as a counter-signed contract —Anon
  48. Inevitable as a comet’s return —Marge Piercy
  49. Inevitable as noon —Thomas Wolfe
  50. Inevitable as the snick of a mouse-trap —Carl Sandburg
  51. Inevitable … like a stone rolling down a mountain —Mary Gordon
  52. Predictable as a physical law —Charles Johnson
  53. (The man was as) predictable as rainwater seeking a low spot —William Beechcroft
  54. Predictable as the prints left by a three-legged dog —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  55. Predictable as the arrival of Monday morning —Harry Prince
  56. Predictable as the menu at charity dinner —Anon
  57. Predictable, like a diplomatic reception —A. Alvarez
  58. Secure as an obituary in the Times —Marge Piercy
  59. So predictable … just like tuning in the same radio station every night —Lee Smith

    A character in Smith’s novel, The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed, uses this simile to describe a dull suitor.

  60. A sweet and sure annuity; it’s like taking a bath at Fort Knox —Moss Hart

    This line from Light Up the Sky likens a national tour for an ice show to sure-fire success.

Certainty

 

bet one’s boots To be absolutely sure or certain of something. The reference is to a gambler (perhaps a cowboy, whose boots are among his most important possessions) so sure of winning that he will bet everything he owns, including his boots. The phrase appeared in 1856 in Spirit of Times. Similar expressions are bet one’s life and bet one’s bottom dollar.

dead to rights Indisputably, unquestionably; positively, assuredly; usually in the phrases have someone dead to rights or caught dead to rights, in which it is equivalent to ‘in the act, red-handed’ Attempts to explain the origin of this American colloquial expression are frustrating and futile. Dead appears to be used in its meaning of ‘absolutely, utterly’; but the equivalent British expression bang to rights suggests something closer to ‘directly, precisely.’ The context of wrongdoing in which the phrase always appears in early citations indicates that to rights may relate to the rights of the guilty party, but the theory does not withstand careful analysis. The OED suggests a connection between the to rights of the phrase and the obsolete to rights ‘in a proper manner,’ but no citations contain analogous syntactic constructions. Despite its refusal to yield an elucidating explanation, dead to rights has been a commonly used expression since the mid-1800s.

dollars to doughnuts A sure thing, a certainty; usually in the phrase bet you dollars to doughnuts, in use since 1890. Although the precise origin of this expression is unknown, it obviously plays on the value of a dollar contrasted with the relative small worth of a doughnut, which once cost 5¢. Anyone willing to wager dollars to doughnuts is confident of winning his bet. One use of the expression apparently referred to the declining value of the dollar:

Dollars to doughnuts is a pretty even bet today. (Redbook, 1947)

eat one’s hat To admit willingness to “eat one’s hat” is to express certainty and confidence, and to be ready to abase one-self should things not turn out as one had anticipated. Should such cocksureness prove ill-founded, “eating one’s hat” would be analogous to “eating crow” or “eating one’s words.” The first use of this expression is attributed to Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers (1837).

If I knew as little of life as that, I’d eat my hat and swallow the buckle whole.

Of British origin, eat one’s hat is currently popular in the United States as well.

eggs is eggs Surely, definitely, absolutely, without a doubt. Usually used as an interjection or in the phrase sure as eggs is eggs, this British colloquialism is probably a humorous twist or an ignorant mispronunciation of “X” in the familiar algebraic equation, “X is X.”

[After examining me] the doctor shook his head and said, “Eggs is eggs.” (Johnny Carson, on The Tonight Show, NBC Television, 1978)

far and away Absolutely, incomparably, easily, undoubtedly; by far. Used to increase the intensity of a superlative adjective, this expression implies that there are no competitors or contenders within reach of this description.

You are far and away the greatest scoundrel I ever saw. (William E. Norris, Thirlby Hall, 1883)

hands down See EFFORTLESSNESS.

in spades Definitely, emphatically, to the utmost degree; without restraint or qualification; no ifs, ands, or buts. This expression connoting extremeness derives from the fact that spades are the highest suit in some card games. In spades is used as an intensifier, as in the following citation from Webster’s Third:

[I] have thought him a stinker, in spades, for many years (Inez Robb)

in the bag Assured, certain. The most plausible and frequent explanation holds that the reference is to game which has been killed and bagged, i.e., put in the gamebag. One source claims a cockfighting origin for the term; since a live gamecock is literally brought to the pits in a bag, for the owner confident of victory, “It’s in the bag.”

lead-pipe cinch An absolute certainty; a certain success; something that is easily accomplished; a piece of cake. In this expression, cinch refers to a saddle girth, the beltlike strap used to secure the saddle on a horse. If the cinch were tight enough, the rider did not have to worry about the saddle’s slipping; in fact, it was a certainty that the saddle would stay in place. Although the rationale for the inclusion of “leadpipe” in this expression is unclear, it is possible that the relative ease with which lead for (waste) plumbing could be worked (compared with cast iron) gave rise to lead-pipe as an intensifier.

It is a double-barrelled lead-pipe cinch that you’ll be more anxious to get it back than you ever were about a $10 loan overdue. (Outing, July, 1921)

on ice See ABEYANCE.

shoo-in A candidate, athlete, team, or other competitor considered to be a sure winner; the favorite. This expression employs the verb phrase to shoo-in ‘to cause to go into’ as a noun.

In the [Republican presidential] preferential poll, Taft looked like a shoo-in over Stassen. (AP wire story, May 13, 1952)

sure as shooting Certainly without a doubt, most assuredly. This colloquialism of American origin appeared in print by the mid-1800s. It was probably a cowboy expression referring to one’s need for sure ‘accurate’ shooting to avoid being shot dead in turn.

Sure as shootin’ … one of these days one of my customers will be coming in and telling me he caught a fish with one of your jackets. (Field and Stream, June 19, 1947)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.certainty - the state of being certain; "his certainty reassured the others"
cognitive state, state of mind - the state of a person's cognitive processes
confidence, self-assurance, self-confidence, sureness, assurance, authority - freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities; "his assurance in his superiority did not make him popular"; "after that failure he lost his confidence"; "she spoke with authority"
certitude, cocksureness, overconfidence - total certainty or greater certainty than circumstances warrant
reliance, trust - certainty based on past experience; "he wrote the paper with considerable reliance on the work of other scientists"; "he put more trust in his own two legs than in the gun"
doubt, doubtfulness, dubiety, dubiousness, incertitude, uncertainty - the state of being unsure of something
2.certainty - something that is certain; "his victory is a certainty"
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
cert - an absolute certainty; "it's a dead cert"
ineluctability, unavoidability - the quality of being impossible to avoid or evade
inevitability, inevitableness - the quality of being unavoidable
surety - something clearly established
indisputability, indubitability, unquestionability, unquestionableness - the quality of being beyond question or dispute or doubt
moral certainty - certainty based on an inner conviction; "she believed in the importance of moral absolutes and moral certainty"; "the prosecutor had a moral certainty that the prisoner was guilty"
predictability - the quality of being predictable
slam dunk - something that is a sure to occur; a foregone conclusion; "predicting his success was a slam dunk"
uncertainness, uncertainty, precariousness - being unsettled or in doubt or dependent on chance; "the uncertainty of the outcome"; "the precariousness of his income"

certainty

noun
1. confidence, trust, faith, conviction, assurance, certitude, sureness, positiveness, authoritativeness I have said with absolute certainty that there will be no change of policy.
confidence doubt, uncertainty, disbelief, scepticism, qualm, indecision, unsureness
2. inevitability There is too little certainty about the outcome yet.
inevitability uncertainty
3. fact, truth, reality, sure thing (informal), surety, banker A general election became a certainty three weeks ago.
Quotations
"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes" [Benjamin Franklin]
"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties" [Francis Bacon The Advancement of Learning]

certainty

noun
1. The fact or condition of being without doubt:
2. A clearly established fact:
Translations
أَمْرٌ مُؤَكَّدٌيَقينيَقِيـن
jistotajistá věc
sikkerhedvished
varmuus
izvjesnost
vissa
確実なこと
확실성
gotovostzanesljivost
säkerhet
ความแน่นอน
sự chắc chắn

certainty

[ˈsɜːtəntɪ] N
1. (no pl) (= conviction) → certeza f, seguridad f
I can't say with any certainty that this will happenno puedo decir con ninguna certeza or seguridad que esto vaya a suceder
2. (= sure fact) faced with the certainty of disasterante la seguridad or lo inevitable del desastre
we know for a certainty thatsabemos a ciencia cierta que ...
it's a certaintyes cosa segura
there are no certainties in modern Europeen la Europa moderna no hay nada seguro, pocas cosas son seguras en la Europa moderna
there is no certainty that they will be aliveno existe la seguridad or la certeza de que vayan a estar vivos

certainty

[ˈsɜːrtənti] n [knowledge] → certitude f
(= sure thing) to be a certainty → être certain

certainty

n
(= sure fact)Gewissheit f; to know for a certainty that …mit Sicherheit wissen, dass …; he was faced with the certainty of defeater sah seiner sicheren Niederlage entgegen; his success is a certaintyer wird mit Sicherheit Erfolg haben, sein Erfolg ist gewiss; the ultimate certainty of deathdie letztliche Gewissheit des Todes; there are no certainties in modern Europein einem modernen Europa ist nichts gewiss; will it happen? — yes, it’s a certaintywird das passieren? — ja, mit Sicherheit; it’s a certainty that …es ist absolut sicher, dass …
no pl (= conviction)Gewissheit f, → Sicherheit f

certainty

[ˈsɜːtəntɪ] ncertezza
faced with the certainty of disaster → di fronte al sicuro disastro
we know for a certainty that ... → sappiamo per certo che...

certain

(ˈsəːtn) adjective
1. true or without doubt. It's certain that the world is round.
2. sure. I'm certain he'll come; He is certain to forget; Being late is a certain way of losing one's job.
3. one or some, not definitely named. certain doctors; a certain Mrs Smith; (also pronoun) certain of his friends.
4. slight; some. a certain hostility in his manner; a certain amount.
ˈcertainly adverb
1. definitely. I can't come today, but I'll certainly come tomorrow.
2. of course. You may certainly have a chocolate.
interjection
of course. `May I borrow your typewriter?' `Certainly!'; `Certainly not!'
ˈcertaintyplural ˈcertainties noun
1. something which cannot be doubted. It's a certainty that he will win.
2. freedom from doubt. Is there any certainty of success?
for certain
definitely. She may come but she can't say for certain.
make certain
to act so that, or check that, something is sure. Make certain you arrive early; I think he's dead but you'd better make certain.

certainty

يَقِيـن jistota sikkerhed Gewissheit βεβαιότητα certeza varmuus certitude izvjesnost certezza 確実なこと 확실성 zekerheid visshet pewność certeza определенность säkerhet ความแน่นอน kesinlik sự chắc chắn 确定
References in classic literature ?
That which at first was only rumor, soon became certainty, as orders passed from the quarters of the commander-in-chief to the several corps he had selected for this service, to prepare for their speedy departure.
Phoebe soon saw it likewise, and gave him the sort of confidence which such a certainty inspires.
None knew -- nor ever learned with the fulness of perfect certainty -- whether the elf-child had gone thus untimely to a maiden grave; or whether her wild, rich nature had been softened and subdued and made capable of a woman's gentle happiness.
I had an absolute certainty that I should see again what I had already seen, but something within me said that by offering myself bravely as the sole subject of such experience, by accepting, by inviting, by surmounting it all, I should serve as an expiatory victim and guard the tranquility of my companions.
And where Ahab's chances of accomplishing his object have hitherto been spoken of, allusion has only been made to whatever way-side, antecedent, extra prospects were his, ere a particular set time or place were attained, when all possibilities would become probabilities, and, as Ahab fondly thought, every possibility the next thing to a certainty.
Though the certainty of this criterion is far from demonstrable, yet it has the savor of analogical probability.
Jokubas had never tried it, but he expressed a certainty that he could get some of his friends a job through this man.
Well, it was touching to see the queen blush and smile, and look embarrassed and happy, and fling fur- tive glances at Sir Launcelot that would have got him shot in Arkansas, to a dead certainty.
I cannot speak with certainty, because the two leading men were partially hidden from my sight by an intervening mass of rock, but it is my belief, from the movements of their shoulders, that Croz, having done as I said, was in the act of turning round to go down a step or two himself; at this moment Mr.
That and outside work among the voters will, to a certainty.
NOW we're on the homestretch, to a dead moral certainty.
The neighborhood extracted considerable eager conversation from it; argument, rebuttal, suspicion, certainty, retrospect, and prophecy.