Definition of “certain” - English Dictionary

“certain” in English

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uk /ˈsɜː.tən/ us /ˈsɝː.tən/

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.

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certain adjective (EXTREMELY LIKELY)

B1 impossible to avoid or extremely likely:

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.

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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.


uk /ˈsɜː.tən/ us /ˈsɝː.tən/

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.

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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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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 police report is filled out (= check that this happens).

certain adjective (PARTICULAR)

particular but not named or described:

Parents expect their kids to leave home at a certain point.

certain adjective (LIMITED)

[ not gradable ] some but not exactly stated; limited:

She enjoys sports to a certain extent.
There’s a certain amount of exaggeration in all ads.
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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uk /ˈsɜːtən/ us
sum certain

LAW a particular amount of money stated 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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While it is desirable to create a level playing field it may also be necessary to provide subsidies for certain types of energy in order to promote other objectives.
The concentration of economic and social problems in certain urban areas calls for targeted intervention taking full account of the complexity of the problems involved.
When this rapid reaction force actually comes together, will it work in certain cases at a regional basis as well as an individual nation basis?
The aim of export controls is to try to avoid undesired proliferation of these products to certain countries and to criminal organisations.
In my opinion, it would be good if we could achieve consensus at the international level regarding certain basic principles of competition law.
The airports were built haphazardly and no practical assessment of the environmental impact was made as the towns, or certain parts of them, grew up around the airport structures.
My firm opinion is that all the different pension schemes should be covered by the same directive in order not to protect certain types of schemes from competition.
Some businesses have become hi-tech businesses, because they managed to recycle certain materials, even materials which are not yet included in the directive.
However, we are aware of the concerns about the negative aspects, which the proliferation of encryption services for confidentiality purposes may have in the fight against certain forms of crime.
Registration using the second procedure would run counter to the future chocolate directive, because chocolate is redefined and may contain a certain proportion of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter.