for certain

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.


1. Definite; fixed: set aside a certain sum each week.
2. Sure to come or happen; inevitable: certain success.
3. Established beyond doubt or question; indisputable: What is certain is that every effect must have a cause.
4. Capable of being relied on; dependable: a quick and certain remedy.
5. Having or showing confidence; assured: I'm certain I left my keys in this room.
a. Not specified or identified but assumed to be known: felt that certain breeds did not make good pets.
b. Named but not known or previously mentioned: a certain Ms. Johnson.
7. Perceptible; noticeable: a certain charm; a certain air of mystery.
8. Not great; calculable: to a certain degree; a certain delay in the schedule.
An indefinite but limited number; some: Certain of the products are faulty.
for certain
Without doubt; definitely.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *certānus, from Latin certus, past participle of cernere, to determine; see krei- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: certain, inescapable, inevitable, sure, unavoidable
These adjectives mean impossible to avoid or evade: soldiers who knew they faced certain death; facts that led to an inescapable conclusion; an inevitable result; sudden but sure retribution; an unavoidable accident. See Also Synonyms at sure.
Usage Note: It is often claimed that certain is an absolute term like unanimous or paramount and cannot be modified; something is either certain or it is not. However, a majority of the Usage Panel accepted the construction Nothing could be more certain as early as 1965, and phrases such as fairly certain and quite certain are readily understood as expressing varying degrees of confidence, especially when they refer to a person. Phrases in which certain is modified can be quite effective, as the following example from Susan Orlean shows: "The [taxidermic] piece was precise and lovely, almost haunting, since the more you looked at it the more certain you were that the birds would just stop building their nest, spread their wings, and fly away." Note that since certain must always suggest overall confidence, its range is restricted to the upper range; one is less likely to be slightly, somewhat, or a little bit certain, for example.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.for certain - definitely or positively (`sure' is sometimes used informally for `surely'); "the results are surely encouraging"; "she certainly is a hard worker"; "it's going to be a good day for sure"; "they are coming, for certain"; "they thought he had been killed sure enough"; "he'll win sure as shooting"; "they sure smell good"; "sure he'll come"
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
bestemtmed sikkerhed
meî vissu
kesin olarak


(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.
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.
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