What does certain mean?

Definitions for certain
ˈsɜr tncer·tain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word certain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. certain(a)adjective

    definite but not specified or identified

    "set aside a certain sum each week"; "to a certain degree"; "certain breeds do not make good pets"; "certain members have not paid their dues"; "a certain popular teacher"; "a certain Mrs. Jones"

  2. certain(p), sureadjective

    having or feeling no doubt or uncertainty; confident and assured

    "felt certain of success"; "was sure (or certain) she had seen it"; "was very sure in his beliefs"; "sure of her friends"

  3. certain(p)adjective

    established beyond doubt or question; definitely known

    "what is certain is that every effect must have a cause"; "it is certain that they were on the bus"; "his fate is certain"; "the date for the invasion is certain"

  4. certain, sureadjective

    certain to occur; destined or inevitable

    "he was certain to fail"; "his fate is certain"; "In this life nothing is certain but death and taxes"- Benjamin Franklin; "he faced certain death"; "sudden but sure regret"; "he is sure to win"

  5. sealed, certainadjective

    established irrevocably

    "his fate is sealed"

  6. certain, sureadjective

    reliable in operation or effect

    "a quick and certain remedy"; "a sure way to distinguish the two"; "wood dust is a sure sign of termites"

  7. certain, sureadjective

    exercising or taking care great enough to bring assurance

    "be certain to disconnect the iron when you are through"; "be sure to lock the doors"


  1. certainadjective

    Having been determined but unspecified. The quality of some particular subject or object which is known by the speaker to have been specifically singled out among similar entities of its class.

    I was certain of my decision.

  2. certainadjective

    Sure, positive, not doubting.

    I was certain of my decision.

  3. Etymology: From certain, certein, from certain, from unattested form, extended form of certus, of the same origin as cretus, past participle of cernere. Displaced native wis, iwis (from gewiss ġewis, ġewiss and alternative spelling sertane

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CERTAINadjective

    Etymology: certus, Lat.

    This it is equally certain of, whether these ideas be more or less general. John Locke.

    Those things are certain among men, which cannot be denied, without obstinacy and folly. John Tillotson.

    However I with thee have fix’d my lot,
    Certain to undergo like doom of death,
    Consort with thee. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. ix. l. 953.

    How bad soever this fashion may justly be accounted, certain of the same countrymen do pass far beyond it. Richard Carew, Survey.

    I got them in my country’s service, when
    Some certain of your brethren roar’d, and ran
    From noise of our own drums. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Let there be certain leather bags made of several bignesses, which, for the matter of them, should be tractable. John Wilkins.

    This form before Alcyone present,
    To make her certain of the sad event. Dryden.


  1. certain

    An adjective used to describe something that is definite, absolute, or without doubt. It suggests that there is no uncertainty or ambiguity about the subject or situation at hand.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Certainadjective

    assured in mind; having no doubts; free from suspicions concerning

  2. Certainadjective

    determined; resolved; -- used with an infinitive

  3. Certainadjective

    not to be doubted or denied; established as a fact

  4. Certainadjective

    actually existing; sure to happen; inevitable

  5. Certainadjective

    unfailing; infallible

  6. Certainadjective

    fixed or stated; regular; determinate

  7. Certainadjective

    not specifically named; indeterminate; indefinite; one or some; -- sometimes used independenty as a noun, and meaning certain persons

  8. Certainnoun


  9. Certainnoun

    a certain number or quantity

  10. Certainadverb


Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Certain

    sėr′tān, or sėr′tin, adj. sure: not to be doubted: resolved: fixed: regular: inevitable: some: one.—advs. Cer′tainly, (Scot.) Cer′ty, Cer′tie.—ns. Cer′titude, Cer′tainty.—'A certain person,' implying some degree of contempt; A lady of a certain age, of an age best not stated accurately—at least no longer young.—For certain, assuredly.—Moral certainty, a conviction so justifiable that one is morally entitled to act on it. [O. Fr.,—L. certuscern-ĕre, to decide.]

Editors Contribution

  1. certain

    To feel and know with our conscience, consciousness, heart, mind, subconscious, spirit and soul.

    They both are certain they are getting married to each other.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 22, 2020  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Certain is ranked #26086 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Certain surname appeared 939 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Certain.

    74.5% or 700 total occurrences were White.
    15.4% or 145 total occurrences were Black.
    5.5% or 52 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.5% or 24 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1% or 10 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.8% or 8 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'certain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #419

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'certain' in Written Corpus Frequency: #518

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'certain' in Adjectives Frequency: #45

Anagrams for certain »

  1. tacrine

  2. tercian

  3. centiar

  4. nacrite

  5. nectria

  6. citrean

How to pronounce certain?

How to say certain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of certain in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of certain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of certain in a Sentence

  1. The EPA:

    The reforms include requirements for public disclosure if a party's RIN holdings exceed certain thresholds and additional data collections to improve EPA market monitoring capability.

  2. Brandon Miller:

    There is no denying that there is a certain amount of excitement that comes from seeing a tornado when you are set out with the intent of seeing one, at the same time, you are balancing that excitement with a sizable amount of anxiety and concern over what the tornado could do, especially if there are residents in the immediate path of the storm. As someone who spent years studying, and many more years reporting on, tornadoes, it still gets all my nerves firing when you see a tornado in person.

  3. Ethan Lindenberger:

    For certain individuals and organizations that spread misinformation, they instill fear into the public for their own gain selfishly and do so knowing that their information is incorrect. For my mother, her love, affection and care as a parent, was used to push an agenda to create a false distress, and these sources which spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people.

  4. Defense Secretary James Mattis:

    I did not want to immediately go in with a certain preset expectation of what they are going to say, i want to go in and do a lot of listening. I will be very clear about what we see developing, but that's the whole reason I am making the trip instead of just sitting in Washington reading news reports, intelligence reports or analyst reports.

  5. Hans Holtermann:

    According to the indictment that was accepted there is a certain probability he did something criminal, we will have to see what the court decides.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for certain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for certain »


Find a translation for the certain definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"certain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 4 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/certain>.

Discuss these certain definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for certain? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    prevent from being seen or discovered
    • A. attend
    • B. emerge
    • C. conceal
    • D. conform

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for certain: