certain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “certain” in the English Dictionary

"certain" in British English

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certainadjective

uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/  us   /ˈsɝː.tən/
  • certain adjective (WITHOUT DOUBT)

B1 having no ​doubt or ​knowingexactly that something is ​true, or ​known to be ​true, ​correct, ​exact, or ​effective: [+ (that)] Are you ​absolutely certain (that) you gave them the ​rightnumber? 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 ​peopleresponsible 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 ​resignwillingly.
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.

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  • certain adjective (EXTREMELY LIKELY)

B1 impossible to ​avoid or ​extremelylikely: [+ to infinitive] The ​populationexplosion is certain tocausewidespreadfamine. Oil ​prices are certain torisefollowing the ​agreement to ​limitproduction. After all his hard ​work, he's certain topass his ​exams. The ​teamlooks almost certain towin the ​match. [+ (that)] It is ​virtually certain (that) she will ​win the ​goldmedal. Even if a ​ceasefire can be ​agreed, how can they make certain (that) neither ​sidebreaks it? Cancersufferers no ​longerface certain ​death as they ​once did. This ​scandal will ​mean certain ​defeat for the ​party in the ​election.

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  • certain adjective (NAMED)

[before noun] formal named but neither ​famousnorknown well: I had ​lunch today with a certain George Michael - not the George Michael, I should ​explain.

certaindeterminer

uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/  us   /ˈsɝː.tən/
B1 particular but not ​named or ​described: We have certain ​reasons for ​ourdecision, which have to ​remainconfidential. Do you ​thinkwar 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 ​itsexactamount: The ​song has a certain ​appeal, but I'm not ​sure what it is.

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certainpronoun

uk   /ˈsɜː.tən/  us   /ˈsɝː.tən/ formal
(Definition of certain from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"certain" in American English

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certainadjective

 us   /ˈsɜr·tən/
  • certain adjective (KNOWING TO BE TRUE)

knowing that something is ​true or will ​happen and having no ​cause to ​feel that it may not be ​true or may not ​happen; having no ​doubt: "I ​think Emily is going to ​pick up Judy." "Are you certain?" One thing is certain – ​supporters of the ​bill are not giving up. [+ (that) clause] I’m certain (that) he’ll be there. [+ question word] I’m not certain how much it will ​cost. When you ​report a robbery, make certain a ​policereport is ​filled out (= ​check that this ​happens).
  • certain adjective (PARTICULAR)

particular but not named or ​described: Parents ​expecttheirkids to ​leavehome at a certain ​point.
  • certain adjective (LIMITED)

[not gradable] some but not ​exactlystated; ​limited: She ​enjoyssports to a certain ​extent. There’s a certain ​amount of ​exaggeration in all ​ads.
certain
pronoun  us   /ˈsɜrt·ən/
Charges were ​filed against certain of the company’s ​directors.
(Definition of certain from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"certain" in Business English

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certainadjective

uk   us   /ˈsɜːtən/
sum certain
LAW a particular ​amount of ​moneystated in an ​agreement that cannot be ​changed: The $10 million ​price is ​sum certain.
(Definition of certain from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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