certain definition, meaning - what is certain in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “certain”

See all translations

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.
More examples

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.
More examples

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.
More examples

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)
What is the pronunciation of certain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More meanings of “certain”

Definitions of “certain” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

airwaves

the radio waves used for broadcasting radio and television programmes, or, more generally, radio or television broadcasting time

Word of the Day

They sometimes go here and they never go there: using adverbs of frequency

by Liz Walter,
April 29, 2015
Sometimes, always, often, never: these are some of the most common words in English.  Unfortunately, they are also some of the words that cause the most problems for students. Many of my students put them in the wrong place, often because that’s where they go in their own languages. They say things

Read More 

e-juice noun

April 27, 2015
the liquid content in an e-cigarette, which includes nicotine and may be flavoured in various ways Contestants…suck on a modified vaper until they’ve filled their chest cavity with enough vaporised nicotine “e-juice” to shoot out a belch of white smoke upwards of 4ft long.

Read More