Definition of certainty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsərtntē/

noun (plural certainties)

1Firm conviction that something is the case: she knew with absolute certainty that they were dead
More example sentences
  • This certainty that failure is the only outcome has been most pronounced among Labour politicians.
  • He says this with such certainty that one might conclude he was a painter of solutions, that his art was one of formulas and rousing public appeals.
  • However, we shall need to wait for a longer time series to conclude with certainty that the Canadian urban system is indeed heading to a new equilibrium.
1.1The quality of being reliably true: there is a bewildering lack of certainty and clarity in the law
More example sentences
  • Others on the committee signalled that they were unhappy with that lack of clarity and certainty in the legislation, and I do so again now.
  • In Attachment Theory the affective component is the key in the lock to release theoretical certainty but the true affective experience is unknown.
  • He said most complaints stemmed from the high-cost economy, lack of legal certainty, damaged infrastructure and security disturbances.
1.2A fact that is definitely true or an event that is definitely going to take place: an immediate transfer would be a certainty
More example sentences
  • The element of knowledge is an actual awareness but is not the knowledge of an existing fact or an inevitable certainty.
  • I think that a Toronto signing/reading/event is almost a certainty, but of what kind and nature I don't yet know.
  • It would seem a certainty given the recent events north and south of the Border.
1.3A person or thing that may be relied on: he was expected to be a certainty for a gold medal
More example sentences
  • At one stage, the quick-witted Kenmare contestant looked a certainty to be kicked off the island as he battled with rivals from the opposing team as well as one of his own team players.
  • Gardener is a virtual certainty for selection in the British team for the clash with Russia, Sweden and France in the New Year.
  • David was a Scottish hero, the world champion cyclist who looked to be a certainty for an Olympic gold medal.


for a certainty

Beyond the possibility of doubt.
Example sentences
  • It was possibly two years off; but no one could know this, not for a certainty, and not even for a probability.
  • On numerous occasions the diarist vented his frustration with passages like, ‘Without [Churchill] England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and time again.’
  • If you are absolutely convinced of Sarah's truthfulness - and you have no reason not to be - you do not know, for a certainty, that John committed the assault.


Middle English: from Old French certainete, from certain (see certain).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cer·tain·ty

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