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From Middle English certeynte (surety), from Anglo-Norman certeinte, from Old French certeinete, from Vulgar Latin *certānitās, from Latin certus.



certainty (countable and uncountable, plural certainties)

  1. The state of being certain.
    Synonyms: certitude, sureness
    Antonyms: doubt, uncertainty
    • 1720, Samuel Fancourt, “The Remarker's second Objection produced and examined”, in An Essay Concerning Certainty and Infallibility: Or, Some Reflections Upon a Pamphlet Stiled, “The Nature and Consequences of Enthusiasm Considered, in Some Short Remarks on the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity Stated and Defended.” In a Letter to the Author of Those Remarks[1], London: R. Cruttenden, page 35:
      That there may be Certainty upon an infallible Evidence in Matters of Science, I readily grant you. But since there once were Scepticks in Philosophy as well as Religion, such as doubted of every thing, I very much question, whether the whole World be agreed in this Point; unless you could assure me, that Race of Seekers is now extinct.
    • October 12, 1786, Fisher Ames, “Lucius Junius Brutus”, in Independent Chronicle:
      The certainty of punishment is the truest security against crimes.
  2. An instance of being certain.
  3. A fact or truth unquestionably established.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:sure thing
    • 1824, Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen, volume I, London: [] Taylor and Hessey, [], →OCLC:
      Certainties are uninteresting and sating.
    • 1895, Alexander Robinson, chapter XXI, in The Saviour in the Newer Light: A Present Day Study of Jesus Christ[2], Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood & Sons, page 337:
      There is a certainty attainable. A certainty of feeling will arise through the very contemplation of Jesus. But there is also attainable a certainty of Reason.
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, “Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United”, in guardian.co.uk[3]:
      Yet the truth is that City would probably have been coasting by that point if the referee, Michael Oliver, had not turned down three separate penalties, at least two of which could be accurately described as certainties.

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