certain


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(as) certain as death and taxes

Certain to happen; inevitable and unavoidable. A variation of the proverbial phrase, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes." They just aren't right for each other; they're certain as death and taxes to break up eventually. The two brothers will be forever at each other's throats, as certain as death and taxes.
See also: and, certain, death, taxes

Hell hath no fury like a (certain type of person) scorned

No one will have a greater wrath or vengeance than (this type of person) when they have been wronged. A hyperbolic and often humorous play on the phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," in which any person, demographic, or profession may be substituted for "woman." The university might think nothing of hiking up the cost of tuition, but we'll show them that Hell hath no fury like a broke college student scorned! The governor, after veering away from his party's core ideologies, is now discovering that Hell hath no fury like politicians scorned.
See also: fury, hath, hell, like, of, scorn, type

to a certain degree

Somewhat; partly; in a limited way or to a limited extent. Your essay would be improved to a certain degree by tidying up your paragraphs, but your topic on the whole has some fundamental problems. Our administration is willing to negotiate to a certain degree, but we aren't ready to make any significant changes to the legislation.
See also: certain, degree

to a certain extent

Somewhat; partly; in a limited way or to a limited degree. Your essay would be improved to a certain extent by tidying up your paragraphs, but your topic on the whole has some fundamental problems. Our administration is willing to negotiate to a certain extent, but we aren't ready to make any significant changes to the legislation.
See also: certain, extent

certain party

An intentionally vague term used to refer to someone without revealing their identity. When I asked Carly how she knew about my new relationship, she just said that a certain party told her, but I'm going to need some specifics eventually! I planned to stop by your house tonight, but a certain party threw a tantrum when I tried to pry him away from his toys.
See also: certain, party

certain sure

Positive. Very sure. I was certain sure I saw a dog out here, so where did he get to?
See also: certain, sure

clock (someone or something) at (a certain speed)

To track the speed at which someone or something moves. (The speed is stated after "at.") You're getting a ticket because I clocked you at 90 miles an hour—and the speed limit here is only 55.
See also: certain, clock

come out (a certain way) on (something)

To have a particular outcome with some project, venture, or other thing. We definitely came out well on that merger—it saved the company after all!
See also: certain, come, on, out

to some degree

Somewhat; partly; in a limited way or to a limited extent. Your essay would be improved to some degree by tidying up your paragraphs, but your topic on the whole has some fundamental problems. The administration is willing to negotiate to some degree, but it is not ready to make any significant changes to the legislation.
See also: degree

dead certain

Absolutely sure. I'm dead certain that the answer is 42, but you can check the answer key if you want. Elise was dead certain that the wedding started at four, and had I listened to her, I would have gotten there on time!
See also: certain, dead

doesn't have a (certain kind of) bone in (one's) body

Does not display the trait stated between "a" and "bone." (This phrase does not refer to an actual bone in the human skeleton.) I highly doubt that Jeannie started that vicious rumor about you—she doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
See also: body, bone, have, kind

have a ring to it

To sound appealing. An adjective, often "certain" or "nice," is commonly used to describe "ring." After so many years of hard work, "Jane Smith, Vice-President of Marketing" sure has a nice ring to it.
See also: have, ring

of a certain age

Not yet old but no longer young. Men of a certain age really shouldn't wear such tight T-shirts. People of a certain age are far likelier to adopt a more conservative outlook on life.
See also: age, certain, of

under certain circumstances

In certain situations. I let my kids sleep with me in my bedroom under certain circumstance, like if they've had a nightmare.

certain party

someone you know but whom I do not wish to name. I spoke to a certain party about the matter you mentioned. If a certain party finds out about you-know-what, what on earth will you do?
See also: certain, party

certain sure

Rur. very sure. Tom: Are you sure you saw Bill at work today? Mary: Certain sure. If you keep hanging around with them no-good kids, you'll get in a heap of trouble for certain sure.
See also: certain, sure

come in a certain position

to finish in a certain position or rank. Fred came in fourth in the race. He was afraid he would come in last.
See also: certain, come, position

dead certain

very sure. (Dead means absolutely.) I'm dead certain that horse will win. I bet two hundred on it myself. I didn't believe the rumor at first, but Bill's dead certain that it's true.
See also: certain, dead

make certain of something

to check something in order to be sure. Please make certain of what you want to do. Would you please make certain of the number of things you want to order?
See also: certain, make, of

Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Prov. Everything in life is unpredictable, except that you can be sure you will die and you will have to pay taxes. (You can also refer to death and taxes as the only certain things in life.) Son: I can't believe how much tax money is being withheld from my paycheck! Father: Welcome to adult life, where nothing is certain but death and taxes.
See also: and, but, certain, death, nothing, taxes

Nothing is certain but the unforeseen.

Prov. You cannot foresee what will happen. Jill: Now that we've got a new boss, this is certain to be a nicer place to work. Jane: Nothing is certain but the unforeseen.
See also: but, certain, nothing

sell something for a certain price

to market something at a certain price. I think I can sell this for twice what I paid for it. This is selling for twice the price at the shop down the street.
See also: certain, price, sell

under certain circumstances

 and under certain conditions
Fig. depending on or influenced by something; because of something. Under certain conditions, you can see across the lake to the other side. Under certain circumstances, what you propose to do is all right.

death and taxes, certain as

Also, sure as death and taxes. Bound to occur, inevitable, as in His business is going to fail, certain as death and taxes. This phrase was invented by Benjamin Franklin in a letter (1789) and has been repeated ever since, the government's recurring need for revenue probably assuring its continued popularity.
See also: and, certain, death

for certain

Also, for sure. Without doubt. For example, I can't tell for certain if this is the right color, or I know for sure that she has a new car. The first term dates from the early 1300s. The variant, dating from the late 1500s, is also used colloquially to express agreement or assert the truth of a statement, as in Mary is really bossy.-That's for sure, or Are you coming to the party?-For sure I am.
See also: certain

to some degree

Also, to a certain degree; to some or a certain extent ; to a degree or an extent . Somewhat, in a way, as in To some degree we'll have to compromise, or To an extent it's a matter of adjusting to the colder climate. The use of degree in these terms, all used in the same way, dates from the first half of the 1700s, and extent from the mid-1800s.
See also: degree

for certain

Without doubt; definitely.
See also: certain
References in classic literature ?
He had given his hand," as a certain Monsieur du Bousquier remarked, "to the person who had long had him under irons.
Monsieur de Valois was the only man who could perfectly pronounce certain phrases of the olden time.
Human science can never be quite certain of things like that," said Father Brown, still looking at the red budding of the branches over his head, "if only because of the difficulty about definition and connotation.
Upon which the bishop had been constrained to recite to him the ordinance of Legate Odo, which excepts certain great dames,
Then perchance thou knowest also of a certain one who goeth by the name of the Curtal Friar of Fountain Abbey.
I will not pretend that I was insensible to the grossness of the poet's time, which I found often enough in the poet's verse, as well as the goodness of his nature, and my father seems to have felt a certain misgiving about it.
Wordsworth's own character, as we have already observed, was dominated by a certain contentment, a sort of naturally religious placidity, not often found in union with a poetic sensibility so [97] active as his; and this gentle sense of well-being was favourable to the quiet, habitual observation of the inanimate, or imperfectly animate, world.
Without wishing to be in any way personal, I might say that there are statesmen in your Government, for whom you must accept a certain amount of responsibility, who have been largely instrumental in bringing this hideous danger upon the country.
Fan is so absorbed, I could n't think of disturbing her," said Polly, fancying that her friend was enjoying the evening as much as she was a great mistake, by the way, for Fan was acting for effect, and though she longed to turn and join them, would n't do it, unless a certain person showed signs of missing her.
So, then the moon displays invariably the same face to the earth; nevertheless, to be quite exact, it is necessary to add that, in consequence of certain fluctuations of north and south, and of west and east, termed her libration, she permits rather more than half, that is to say, five-sevenths, to be seen.
Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent.
One of the soldiers now went up to the serjeant, and whispered something in his ear; upon which he stedfastly fixed his eyes on the lady, and having looked at her for near a minute, he came up to her, saying, "I ask pardon, madam; but I am certain I am not deceived; you can be no other person than Captain Waters's lady?
But all that we can observe is a certain language-habit.
Falk" -- the second story in the volume -- offended the delicacy of one critic at least by certain peculiarities of its subject.
Because, you see, Kirylo Sidorovitch, abstention, reserve, in certain situations, come very near to political crime.