Certain vs Determinate - What's the difference?

certain | determinate |

As adjectives the difference between certain and determinate

is that certain is certain while determinate is distinct, clearly defined.

As a noun determinate is

(philosophy) a single state of a particular determinable attribute.

As a verb determinate is

(obsolete) to bring to an end; to determine.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(wikipedia certain) (en adjective)
  • Sure, positive, not doubting.
  • I was certain of my decision.
  • (obsolete) Determined; resolved.
  • * Milton
  • However, I with thee have fixed my lot, / Certain to undergo like doom.
  • Not to be doubted or denied; established as a fact.
  • * Bible, Dan. ii. 45
  • The dream is certain , and the interpretation thereof sure.
  • Actually existing; sure to happen; inevitable.
  • Bankruptcy is the certain outcome of your constant gambling and lending.
  • * Dryden
  • Virtue that directs our ways / Through certain dangers to uncertain praise.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all.
  • Unfailing; infallible.
  • * Mead
  • I have often wished that I knew as certain a remedy for any other distemper.
  • Fixed or stated; regular; determinate.
  • * Bible, Ex. xvi. 4
  • The people go out and gather a certain rate every day.
  • Not specifically named; indeterminate; indefinite; one or some; sometimes used independently as a noun, and meaning certain persons.
  • * Bible, Luke v. 12
  • It came to pass when he was in a certain city.
  • * Macaulay
  • About everything he wrote there was a certain natural grace and decorum.


    * See also


    * (not doubting) uncertain * (sure to happen) impossible, incidental

    Derived terms

    * certainly


    (en determiner)
  • Having been determined but unspecified. The quality of some particular subject or object which is known by the speaker to have been specifically singled out among similar entities of its class.
  • * Bible, Acts xxiii. 12
  • Certain of the Jews banded together.
  • * , title=The Mirror and the Lamp
  • , chapter=3 citation , passage=One saint's day in mid-term a certain newly appointed suffragan-bishop came to the school chapel, and there preached on “The Inner Life.”}}




    * * 1000 English basic words ----




  • Distinct, clearly defined.
  • * Dryden
  • Quantity of words and a determinate number of feet.
  • Fixed, set, unvarying.
  • * 1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , Acts II:
  • hym have ye taken by the hondes of unrightewes persones, after he was delivered by the determinat counsell and foreknowledge of God, and have crucified and slayne hym [...].
  • (biology) Of growth: ending once a genetically predetermined structure has formed.
  • conclusive; decisive; positive
  • * Bible, Acts ii. 23
  • The determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.
  • (obsolete) Determined or resolved upon.
  • * Shakespeare
  • My determinate voyage.
  • Of determined purpose; resolute.
  • * Sir Philip Sidney
  • More determinate to do than skillful how to do.


    * (limited) indeterminate, nondeterminate * (biology) indeterminate

    Derived terms

    * determinateness


    (en noun)
  • (philosophy) A single state of a particular determinable attribute.
  • * {{quote-journal, 2007, date=September 5, David Denby, Generating possibilities, Philosophical Studies, url=, doi=10.1007/s11098-007-9159-z, volume=141, issue=2, pages=
  • , passage=And since being negatively-charged and being positively-charged are determinates of the same determinable, [D5] will not permit us to infer worlds where anything negatively-charged is also positively-charged. }}


  • (obsolete) To bring to an end; to determine.
  • * Shakespeare
  • The sly, slow hours shall not determinate / The dateless limit of thy dear exile.