From Middle English certeyn, certein, certain, borrowed from Old French certain, from a Vulgar Latin unattested form *certānus, extended form of Latin certus (“fixed, resolved, certain”), of the same origin as cretus, past participle of cernere (“to separate, perceive, decide”). Displaced native Middle English wis, iwis (“certain, sure”) (from Old English ġewiss (“certain, sure”)) and alternative Middle English spelling sertane (“some, certain”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsɜːtn̩/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsɝtn̩/, /ˈsɝʔn̩/
- (Canada) IPA(key): /ˈsɝtən/, /ˈsɝtn̩/, /ˈsɝʔn̩/
Audio (CA) (file) Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)tən
- Hyphenation: cer‧tain
- Sure in one's mind, positive; absolutely confident in the truth of something.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:certain
- I was certain of my decision.
- Not to be doubted or denied; established as a fact.
- Now that more experiments have been run, the theory is certain and the argument is settled.
- Sure to happen, inevitable; assured.
- It is certain that Spain will reach the finals. / Spain is now certain to reach the finals. / Spain is now certain of a place in the finals.
- Bankruptcy is the certain outcome of your constant gambling and lending.
- Unfailing; infallible.
- 1702, Richard Mead, Mechanical Account of Poisons:
- I have often wished, that I knew so certain a remedy in any other disease
- Fixed; regular; determinate.
- at certain intervals
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Exodus 16:4, column 1:
- Then ſaid the Lord vnto Moſes, Behold, I will raine bread from heauen for you: and the people ſhall goe out, and gather a certaine rate euery day, that I may proue them, whether they will walke in my Law, or no.
- Particular and definite, but unspecified or unnamed; used to introduce someone or something without going into further detail.
- Every wine has a certain distinctive character which sets it apart from all others.
- Each morning, she would see a certain man rush past her window on his way to work.
- 1856 February, [Thomas Babington] Macaulay, “Oliver Goldsmith [from the Encyclopædia Britannica]”, in T[homas] F[lower] E[llis], editor, The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, new edition, London: Longman, Green, Reader, & Dyer, published 1871, →OCLC, page 365:
- About everything that he wrote, serious or sportive, there was a certain natural grace and decorum […]
- (preceded by "a", of a person) Named but not previously mentioned.
- Synonym: one
- Looking inside the cover, they learned that the book had once belonged to a certain R. Jones.
- (preceded by "a", of a person) Used before the name of someone famous that people are expected to know.
- Synonym: one
- Since the last British government to make such a proposal was that of a certain Margaret Thatcher, it might not seem unreasonable.
- (obsolete) Determined; resolved.
- (not doubting): uncertain
- (sure to happen): impossible, incidental
- (known but not named): particular specific
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- Having been determined but not specified.
- Certain people are good at running.
- (with of) Unnamed or undescribed members (of).
- Synonym: some
- She mentioned a series of contracts, of which certain are not cited.
- “certain”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
- “certain”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “certain”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- certain, for certain, indubitably
- certain (of indefinite, unknown or simply unmentioned identity, quality or quantity) (prepositive to the noun it modifies, and usually preceded by an indefinite article)
- un certain nombre de ― a certain number of
- une certaine femme ― a certain woman
- certain (sure, positive) (postpositive to the modified noun)
- une victoire certaine ― a sure victory
- Il est certain qu’il viendra.
- It is certain that he will arrive.
- certain (fixed, determined)
- certain (specified, particular)
certain m (plural certains)
- certain: a determined but unspecified amount of ; some
- Certaines personnes vont aller.
- Some people are going.
- The plurals certains and certaines are generally not used with articles, functioning much like articles themselves. Nevertheless, particularly in circumstantial and objective complements introduced by à (including such compounds as jusqu’à), they are sometimes supported by the indefinite article de — not to be confused with the preposition de:
- à de certaines heures du matin
- par rapport à de certains pays voisins
- s'avancer jusqu'à de certaines limites
- s'attendre à de certaines conditions
- chertain (Picard)
certain m (oblique and nominative feminine singular certaine)