Definition of sure in English:


Pronunciation: /ʃʊə//ʃɔː/


  • 1[predicative], [often with clause] Completely confident that one is right.

    ‘I'm sure I've seen that dress before’
    ‘she had to check her diary to be sure of the day of the week’
    • ‘She felt confident and sure, and the music surging through her enticed her attention.’
    • ‘I was absolutely sure of myself, sure I was going to make him proud of me and I did.’
    • ‘This has been done keeping in mind the fact that fans of the game are often not too sure about the various positions of the players in the game.’
    • ‘I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to her comment.’
    • ‘He told me, as if he was absolutely sure of this fact.’
    • ‘She came home, sure of a good number of those questions, not as sure about several others.’
    • ‘I'm not really sure how to get around the problem, but I shall.’
    • ‘Nobody is entirely sure when exactly sheep turned up, but nobody's complaining.’
    • ‘He was sure of that, as sure as one is of being alive or of eating a piece of bread.’
    • ‘Nobody was too sure what to say, so nobody said anything.’
    • ‘He sounded absolutely sure of that fact, and I wanted to be.’
    • ‘I'm not even sure how to ask that question, let alone answer it.’
    • ‘I'm opting for the ninny option but I'm not sure Bill is so convinced.’
    • ‘Ryan wasn't exactly sure how to respond to that.’
    • ‘I'm not 100 percent sure how to tell my mother.’
    • ‘I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to that.’
    • ‘I was absolutely sure at that moment I would find myself staring at a big white Game Over.’
    • ‘I'm not sure of his objections but I'm sure, if we try, we can reach agreement to our mutual satisfaction.’
    • ‘I wasn't entirely sure how to react to her and that made no sense.’
    • ‘We all feel very confident and more sure that we are right with every day that passes.’
    certain, positive, convinced, definite, confident, decided, assured, secure, satisfied, persuaded, easy in one's mind, free from doubt
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  • 2Certain to receive, get, or do something.

    ‘United are sure of a UEFA Cup place’
    ‘it's sure to rain before morning’
    • ‘Agassi and Sampras will both now have a couple of unplanned weeks to spare in which doubts are sure to be raised.’
    • ‘Also sure to prove an attraction will be country singing sensation Patrick Feeney and his band.’
    • ‘This very popular group are sure to receive a very warm welcome in the Western Hotel.’
    • ‘Cameras are expensive, but ask the avid photographer and you are sure to receive a nonchalant shrug.’
    • ‘Demand is likely to be high and with the use of the Middlethorpe stretch still in doubt, tickets are sure to sell out.’
    • ‘Actium's impressive gardens are a defining feature and are sure to prove a strong selling point.’
    confident, certain, assured
    bound, destined, fated, predestined, very likely
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  • 3True beyond any doubt.

    ‘what is sure is that learning is a complex business’
    unquestionable, indisputable, incontestable, irrefutable, incontrovertible, undeniable, indubitable, beyond question, beyond doubt
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    1. 3.1[attributive]Able to be relied on or trusted.
      ‘her neck was red—a sure sign of agitation’
      • ‘In some towns old buildings have been demolished and replaced with monstrous modern carbuncles, a sure sign of shelling.’
      • ‘My brother's Jeep was in the driveway, a sure sign for destruction.’
      • ‘Besides those two, the club does have a few sure bets for success.’
      • ‘Knowing this as a sure sign of water below, the youth and his brothers returned to the same place and dug the layers of time away.’
      • ‘It should be a sure sign of good summer fishing just around the corner.’
      • ‘Teague scowled, and his wings pressed closer to his back, a sure sign of agitation.’
      • ‘I delight in such juicy characters and put Bath's book down wanting more of them - a sure sign of a great read.’
      • ‘I could see Gareth's head turning crimson, a sure sign of confusion and/or stress.’
      • ‘For her, the one-legged cow was a sure sign of the upcoming erosion of moral ecology.’
      • ‘I know it's a sure sign of getting older, but I just do not get Yu-Gi-Oh!’
      • ‘The new Public Service Act lists them explicitly, a sure sign that their survival is threatened.’
      • ‘If you see yourself denouncing jealousy you see in others, it's a sure sign that you yourself are still plagued by it.’
      • ‘The spoiler has morphed with lightning speed, a sure sign of this publishing event's place in the culture.’
      • ‘The one sure sign of true love is when the man gives the woman the last bite of food.’
      • ‘Evidence of derelict buildings being refurbished at council expense are a sure sign of the nature of the trust.’
      • ‘It is a sure sign of mirth when the beards of the guests shake with laughter.’
      • ‘Dimitrova said that consumption of high-tech goods was rising, which was a sure sign of higher income.’
      • ‘Then it went dead, a sure sign that the raid had been a success.’
      • ‘Some give up - a sure sign that they are not meant for priesthood.’
      • ‘There are even phantom sightings, a sure sign that panic is on the rise.’
      reliable, dependable, trustworthy, unfailing, infallible, never-failing, certain, unambiguous, tested, tried and true, true, foolproof, established, effective, efficacious
      guaranteed, unfailing, infallible, unerring, assured, certain, inevitable, incontestable, irrevocable
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  • 4Showing confidence or assurance.

    ‘the drawings impress by their sure sense of rhythm’
    • ‘It lacks the usually sure sense of design that Conran brings.’
    firm, steady, stable, secure, confident, solid, steadfast, unhesitating, unfaltering, unwavering, unswerving
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North American
  • 1Certainly (used for emphasis)

    ‘Texas sure was a great place to grow up’
    • ‘For two decades, though, his constituents have sure voted as if they wanted lower taxes.’
    1. 1.1[as exclamation]Used to show assent.
      ‘‘Are you serious?’ ‘Sure.’’
      • ‘He wasn't there when I rang but a couple of hours later the answer came back - sure, no problem.’
      • ‘Increasingly they do, but, sure, it's a major aspect of the museum that needs to be out there more.’
      • ‘I mean, part of me is able to dismiss it - sure, I've kissed a fair number of people.’
      • ‘She's still a part of my life and, sure, it hurts sometimes to think about us not being together in the same way that we once were.’
      yes, all right, of course, indeed, certainly, absolutely, agreed
      ok, yeah, yep, uh-huh, you bet, i'll say, sure thing
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  • be sure

    • [usually in imperative]Do not fail (used to emphasize an instruction)

      [with infinitive] ‘be sure to pop in’
      [with clause] ‘be sure that you know what is required’
      • ‘If you decide to visit Ren or a similar bar be sure to have accompaniment of the best kind.’
      remember to, don't forget to, make sure to, see that you, mind that you, take care to, be certain to, be careful to
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  • for sure

    • informal Without doubt.

      ‘I can't say for sure what Giles really wanted’
      • ‘A blog satisfies this for sure and is the best solution for me to write nearly every day.’
      • ‘One thing was for sure, this pump would not be working by the time I got there.’
      • ‘It may not do anything for my friend's mood, but it will make me feel a whole lot better, that's for sure.’
      • ‘Whether that is a problem of this production or whether of the opera itself I can't say for sure.’
      • ‘No one knows for sure the exact position in 50 years' time, as no one has a crystal ball.’
      • ‘Cheerful in a different way, for sure, but I still have plenty to be cheery about.’
      • ‘The one thing for sure is that he's not doing it for the sake of doing us a favour.’
      • ‘It occurs to me that they're all a bunch of freaks, but it was hard to tell for sure.’
      • ‘All we know for sure is that he seems to enjoy some sort of position of authority at the bar.’
      • ‘It's a commitment, for sure, but one that I hope you agree was definitely worth it in the end.’
      definitely, surely, certainly, without doubt, without question, beyond any doubt, undoubtedly, indubitably, positively, absolutely, undeniably, unmistakably
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  • make sure

    • 1[usually with clause]Establish that something is definitely so; confirm.

      ‘go and make sure she's all right’
      • ‘He makes sure he has a warrant of fitness, he does everything right, and he goes on the road and is completely within the Road Code.’
      • ‘Kirsty spends most of her waking hours doing the housework and making sure her mother has everything she needs.’
      • ‘Removing the loads, he checked them and made sure the barrels were clear.’
      • ‘I made sure that they were definitely gone before stepping out from my hiding place.’
      • ‘We made sure we had the bear spray handy before wading into the river to fish.’
      • ‘Your sister and I have made sure that the treaty was settled fairly and ratified on both sides.’
      • ‘A software legal advisor makes sure the evidence is admissible, convincing and legally obtained.’
      • ‘The certifier makes sure the driver has mastered the previous lessons before moving on.’
      • ‘We carried out a check on all other bridges in the area and made sure they were secure.’
      check, confirm, make certain, ensure
      assure, verify, corroborate, validate, substantiate, guarantee
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      1. 1.1Ensure that something is done or happens.
        ‘he made sure that his sons were well educated’
        • ‘He needs instead to make sure that he can keep their support in the second vote on Thursday.’
        • ‘So you can buy a guarantee to make sure the annuity pays out for at least five or ten years, even if you die.’
        • ‘Yet neither government has proved capable of making sure that money is well spent.’
        • ‘Thus, the government was just making sure that nothing would happen on the day before.’
        • ‘The little girl supported his arm, making sure he did not fall to the ground.’
        • ‘We want to keep children in their school but make sure that they get very targeted support.’
        check, confirm, make certain, ensure
        assure, verify, corroborate, validate, substantiate, guarantee
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  • (as) sure as eggs is eggs

    • Without any doubt.

      ‘‘You're sure about that?’ ‘Sure as eggs is eggs.’’
      • ‘If we don't, sure as eggs is eggs, the food chain will become corrupted beyond repair, and the gene pool turned back into primal soup.’
      • ‘Serena was always going to win her first Wimbledon final as sure as eggs is eggs.’
      • ‘Be very wary of telling the salesperson your maximum budget because, as sure as eggs is eggs, you'll end up paying this - and often even more.’
      • ‘Had I not encountered Mr Rabbit I'd have ploughed right into them, sure as eggs is eggs.’
      • ‘It is as sure as fate that, as long as such a direct method of attack exists, it will be used.’
      • ‘Second, it is a fact that two cockerels in proximity - whether bred for fighting or not - will, as sure as eggs is eggs, eventually attempt to murder each other.’
      • ‘If you're shopping around for a personal loan, as sure as eggs is eggs, you'll be offered payment protection insurance.’
      • ‘This year it took until the 3 days before the end of the holiday, but as sure as eggs is eggs it happened.’
      • ‘The cat doesn't want to be watched and I sure as eggs is eggs don't want to see.’
      • ‘She'll try for another position in London, sure as eggs is eggs.’
  • sure enough

    • informal Used to introduce a statement that confirms something previously predicted.

      ‘when X-rays were taken, sure enough, there was the needle’
      • ‘I tried looking for a map of Sydney, and sure enough, they claimed I was in the middle of that map too.’
      • ‘There was nothing I could do about it but wait and, sure enough, after twenty minutes or so the problem fixed itself.’
      • ‘The story was always going to be a sitter for the Sunday papers and, sure enough, all three gave it space.’
      • ‘They tried it and sure enough, the ship turned over and quickly sank.’
      • ‘He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper.’
      • ‘By treating the townsfolk as ignorant beasts incapable of choice, sure enough, they become beasts.’
      • ‘I always say there's no Neil Young like Angry Neil Young and, sure enough, he gets a lot of play.’
      • ‘The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.’
      • ‘Looking in the bottom of my glass, sure enough, I could see about a centimetre of sediment!’
      • ‘I tried my hand at stream of consciousness and, sure enough, the words came out but they were devoid of substance.’
  • sure of oneself

    • Very confident of one's own abilities or views.

      ‘he's very sure of himself’
      • ‘If you have a high level you will be confident, happy and sure of yourself.’
      • ‘I think I am reminding myself of what it feels like to feel attractive, confident, sure of myself.’
      • ‘Quite confident and sure of himself, Himanshu knows his heart and most importantly knows that it speaks the truth.’
      • ‘Among the better Christmas presents would be a more vigorous parliament, sure of itself and its abilities and working all the time for a better Scotland.’
      • ‘Since they are all so sure of themselves and so confident in their intuition and hunches, they seldom stop and analyze those on-the-spot decisions they so often make.’
  • sure thing

    • 1informal A certainty.

      ‘I told my mates it was a sure thing and they put every last penny on that horse of yours’
      • ‘One of life's sure things is that year on year, the Madden series of American Football games will get better.’
      • ‘Singapore invests in sure things in Australia because it plans its future as a creditor nation - not like Australia.’
      • ‘We're going to go over the sure things and long shots this hour.’
      • ‘Right now, we're going to talk about the surprises, both positive and negative, and the sure things.’
      • ‘We're told the two sure things in life are death and taxes.’
      • ‘The other two events were by no means sure things.’
      • ‘There are no sure things in any sport, least of all in the fickle game of golf, but it will be a major upset if he does not win the $3m Bay Hill Invitational today.’
      • ‘They are now favourites to win but as we all know favourites are not sure things at any time.’
      • ‘One of the priorities with first-, second- and third-round picks should be to acquire players who are as close to sure things as possible.’
      • ‘The only two sure things in life are death and taxes, the old saying goes.’
      inevitability, necessity, foregone conclusion, predictable result, matter of course, racing certainty
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      1. 1.1North American [as exclamation]Certainly; of course.
        ‘‘Can I watch?’ ‘Sure thing.’’
        yes, all right, of course, indeed, certainly, absolutely, agreed
        ok, yeah, yep, uh-huh, you bet, i'll say, sure thing
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  • to be sure

    • 1Used to concede the truth of something that conflicts with another point that one wishes to make.

      ‘the ski runs are very limited, to be sure, but excellent for beginners’
      • ‘All of this is disturbing, to be sure, but nothing new to anyone who has ever been involved in this kind of situation.’
      • ‘The wealthy do not speak in one voice, to be sure, but they share a broad common perspective.’
      • ‘Such insouciance sets an example, to be sure, but not the sort that allows match officials to sleep easily.’
      • ‘That was unfortunate, to be sure, but certainly not intentional on his part.’
      1. 1.1Used for emphasis.
        ‘what an extraordinary woman she was, to be sure’
        • ‘This is, to be sure, not a virtue on our part, but simply an idea we are used to.’
        • ‘There is reason for bitter reflection upon the demise of the American empire, to be sure.’
        • ‘Nostalgia, to be sure, is a disease, a disease that not even a double dose of reality can cure.’


Middle English: from Old French sur, from Latin securus free from care.