9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sur-tn-tee] /ˈsɜr tn ti/
noun, plural certainties.
the state of being certain.
something certain; an assured fact.
for / of a certainty, certainly; without a doubt:
I suspect it, but I don't know it for a certainty.
Origin of certainty
1250-1300; Middle English certeinte < Anglo-French, equivalent to certein certain + -te -ty2
Related forms
noncertainty, noun, plural noncertainties.
Can be confused
certainty, certitude.
1. certitude, assurance, confidence. See belief. 2. truth. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for certainty
  • In fact, the one certainty is that the manager will eventually have a duff year when he earns no performance fee at all.
  • Truth comes from a process of empirical validation, not from self-confirming illusions of certainty because someone said it.
  • In fact, certainty has proved much easier to market.
  • In fact, it's a certainty that both of the things above will happen in the next several million years.
  • However, only you can decide how important summer certainty at this place is for you.
  • The collision of exponentials with the finite is a mathematical certainty.
  • One certainty is that my dean adeptly choreographed the event, unbeknownst to me until the curtain had already fallen.
  • She had a round face and eyes that sparkled with the certainty that human folly ruled and wasn't that a hoot.
  • As students and enrollment officials alike grasp for certainty in an uncertain time, the admissions cycle keeps spinning faster.
  • But it can be said with some certainty that the whip, if that is the appropriate word, has not changed hands.
British Dictionary definitions for certainty


noun (pl) -ties
the condition of being certain
something established as certain or inevitable
for a certainty, without doubt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for certainty

c.1300, certeynte, "surety, pledge," from Anglo-French certeinté (late 13c.), Old French certainete "certainty," from Latin or Vulgar Latin *certanitatem (source of Old Spanish certanedad); see certain. Meaning "that which is certain" is attested from early 14c.; meaning "quality of being certain" is from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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