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English definition of “certain”

certain

adjective uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/ us    /ˈsɝː-/

certain adjective (WITHOUT DOUBT)

B1 having no doubt or knowing exactly that something is true, or known to be true, correct, exact, or effective: [+ (that)] Are you absolutely certain (that) you gave them the right number? I feel certain (that) you're doing the right thing. You should make certain (that) everyone understands the instructions. The police seem certain (that) they will find the people responsible for the attack. [+ question word] I'm not certain how much it will cost. He was quite certain about/of his attacker's identity. One thing is certain - she won't resign willingly. know/say for certain C1 to know or say something without doubt: I don't know for certain if she's coming. I can't say for certain how long I'll be there.

certain adjective (EXTREMELY LIKELY)

B1 impossible to avoid or extremely likely: [+ to infinitive] The population explosion is certain to cause widespread famine. Oil prices are certain to rise following the agreement to limit production. After all his hard work, he's certain to pass his exams. The team looks almost certain to win the match. [+ (that)] It is virtually certain (that) she will win the gold medal. Even if a ceasefire can be agreed, how can they make certain (that) neither side breaks it? Cancer sufferers no longer face certain death as they once did. This scandal will mean certain defeat for the party in the election.

certain adjective (NAMED)

[before noun] formal named but neither famous nor known well: I had lunch today with a certain George Michael - not the George Michael, I should explain.

certain adjective (LIMITED)

[before noun] limited: I like modern art to a certain extent/degree, but I don't like the really experimental stuff.

certain

determiner uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/ us    /ˈsɝː-/
B1 particular but not named or described: We have certain reasons for our decision, which have to remain confidential. Do you think war is justifiable in certain circumstances? Certain members of the audience may disagree with what I'm about to say. a certain B2 used before a noun when it is difficult to describe something exactly or give its exact amount: The song has a certain appeal, but I'm not sure what it is.

certain

pronoun uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/ us    /ˈsɝː-/ formal
some: Certain of the candidates were well below the usual standard, but others were very good indeed.
(Definition of certain from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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