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

past participle

the form of a verb, usually made by adding -ed, used in some grammatical structures such as the passive and the present perfect

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More