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BNC: 440 COCA: 577


1 certain /ˈsɚtn̩/ adjective
1 certain
Learner's definition of CERTAIN
not used before a noun, [more certain; most certain] : not having any doubt about something : convinced or sure确信;无疑;肯定
used with it to say that something is known to be true or correct可靠的,确定的(与it连用)
used to say that something will definitely happen or that someone will definitely do something有把握的;必然的;肯定的
often followed by to + verb常接动词不定式
always used before a nounused to refer to something or someone that is not named specifically某个,某些,某种(用于指未特别指明的人或事)

a certain

used to refer to a quality that is noticed but that is difficult to explain or describe某种(显而易见却难以描述的品质)
formalused with the name of a person you do not know某某,某位,一个叫…的人(与陌生人的姓名连用)

for certain

: without a doubt : definitely or certainly肯定;确定;无疑

make certain

: to do something or find out something so that you have no doubt about whether something is true, correct, will happen, etc.对…确认;弄清楚;弄明白
sometimes + of
2 certain /ˈsɚtn̩/ pronoun
2 certain
Learner's definition of CERTAIN
: certain ones : particular members of a group : some某些;某些人+ of
BNC: 440 COCA: 577


1 of 2


cer·​tain ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce certain (audio)
: fixed, settled
a certain percentage of the profit
: of a specific but unspecified character, quantity, or degree
the house has a certain charm
: dependable, reliable
a certain remedy for the disease
: known or proved to be true : indisputable
it is certain that we exist
: inevitable
the certain advance of age
: incapable of failing : destined
used with a following infinitive
she is certain to do well
: assured in mind or action
I am certain they are right


2 of 2


plural in construction
: certain ones
certain of my generation W. B. Yeats
for certain
: as a certainty : assuredly
the cause is not known for certain
of a certain age
: of a somewhat advanced age : no longer young
remembered by people of a certain age
Choose the Right Synonym for certain

sure, certain, positive, cocksure mean having no doubt or uncertainty.

sure usually stresses the subjective or intuitive feeling of assurance.

felt sure that I had forgotten something

certain may apply to a basing of a conclusion or conviction on definite grounds or indubitable evidence.

police are certain about the cause of the fire

positive intensifies sureness or certainty and may imply opinionated conviction or forceful expression of it.

I'm positive that's the person I saw

cocksure implies presumptuous or careless positiveness.

you're always so cocksure about everything

Example Sentences

Adjective I'm fairly certain that I'll be on time. a certain person told me that today is your birthday
Recent Examples on the Web
The law passed that year provided triggers that forced the legislature to place money into the rainy day fund — rather than spending it — if personal income taxes from Wall Street stock and bond gains exceeded certain levels. Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, 18 Sep. 2022 The measures aim to protect the E.U. budget by making funding conditional on certain standards. Emily Rauhala, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2022 And the court's docket for the term that begins in October is all but certain to have major repercussions for the 2024 presidential election. Phillip M. Bailey, USA TODAY, 18 Sep. 2022 Of course, this country offered a refuge for many Jewish families, and American Jews like me tend to grow up with a certain optimistic image of our country. James Mcauley, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2022 That unit of cloth was equal to a certain weight of silver. Francine Russo, Scientific American, 18 Sep. 2022 For a certain strain of the British population, the loss of the Commonwealth sounds like good news. Kojo Koram, The New Republic, 18 Sep. 2022 The new annual stocking level of 1 million fish will allow the Michigan DNR to increase numbers at certain sites and reinstate stocking at some sites that were discontinued, Wesley said. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 18 Sep. 2022 But while most of us enjoy music, there are certain people who don't just like music... Ni'kesia Pannell, Woman's Day, 17 Sep. 2022 See More

Word History



Middle English certeyn, certayne, borrowed from Anglo-French certein, certain, going back to Vulgar Latin *certānus, from Latin certus "fixed, settled, indisputable," originally past participle of cernere "to sift, discern, decide, determine" (going back to an Indo-European present stem *kri-n-, verbal adjective *kri-to-, from a verbal base *krei̯̯̯(h1)- "sift, separate," whence Greek krī́nein "to separate, choose, decide," verbal adjective kritós, Welsh gogrynu "to sift") + -ānus + -an entry 2


Middle English certyn, derivative of certeyn certain entry 1

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of certain was in the 13th century
BNC: 440 COCA: 577


VERBS | ADVERB | PREPOSITION | PHRASES VERBSbe, feel, look, seem確定;覺得肯定;看起來必然;似乎無疑Digby looked certain to be the next president.迪格比看來肯定會成為下任總統。become, grow變得確定;漸漸變得肯定I grew more and more certain that she was lying to me.我越來越確信她在對我撒謊。make保證Make certain that you lock the door if you go out.如果你出門,一定要把門鎖好。ADVERBvery很確定absolutely, quite極其肯定;非常確定by no means完全不能確定It's by no means certain that she'll get the job.她完全沒有把握能得到這個工作。almost, virtually幾乎必然fairly, pretty, reasonably比較肯定PREPOSITIONabout, of確信⋯Are you quite certain about this?你對此有充分把握嗎?PHRASEScan't say for certain說不準I think she's a teacher, but I couldn't say for certain.我想她是位老師,但不能肯定。not know for certain不確切知道I don't know for certain how many people are coming.我不確定到底有多少人會來。
BNC: 440 COCA: 577
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^_^: Translate en To zh-TW


0_0: Translations of certain
  • # a.
    必然: certain, inevitable
    的確: certain
    肯定: affirmative, certain, definite, sure
    某: certain, some
    某些: certain, some
    確定: certain, definite, fixed
    穩: certain, settled, stable, steady, sure
    一定: certain, fixed, given, particular
    准兒: certain, sure
  • # n.
    某幾個: certain, certainty

0_0: Definitions of certain
  • # adjective.
    - known for sure; established beyond doubt.
    * it's certain that more changes are in the offing
    - specific but not explicitly named or stated.
    * he raised certain personal problems with me
  • # pronoun.
    - some but not all.
    * certain of his works have been edited

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