Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to certainty: Certainty equivalent


noun absence of doubt, absolute confiience, absoluteness, assurance, assuredness, certification, certitude, certus, complete conviction, conclusiveness, confidentness, conviction, corroboration, definiteness, firmness, firmness of belief, inability to doubt, incontestability, incontrovertibility, indisputability, indubitableness, inerrability, inerrancy, infallibility, irrefragability, irrefutability, knowledge, objective certitude, positiveness, quality of being certain, questionlessness, reassurance, reliability, secureness, solidity, soundness, stability, substantiality, sure preeumption, sureness, surety, unconfutability, undeniability, unequivocalness, unimpeachability, unmistakability, unquestionability, unquestionableness, warranty
Associated concepts: absolute certainty, certainty to a common intent, moral certainty, proof to a reasonable certainty, reasonable certainty
Foreign phrases: Certum est quod certum reddi potest.That is certain which is capable of being rendered certain. Terminus annorum certus debet esse et determinatus. A term of years ought to be certain and determinate.
See also: belief, certification, certitude, confidence, constant, conviction, credence, credibility, fact, fait accompli, faith, outlook, persuasion, proof, prospect, reliance, safety, security, trust, weight

CERTAINTY, UNCERTAINTY, contracts. In matters of obligation, a thing is certain, when its essence, quality, and quantity, are described, distinctly set forth, Dig. 12, 1, 6. It is uncertain, when the description is not that of one individual object, but designates only the kind. Louis. Code, art. 3522, No. 8 5 Co. 121. Certainty is the mother of repose, and therefore the law aims at certainty. 1 Dick. 245. Act of the 27th of July, 1789, ii. 2, 1 Story's Laws, 6. His compensation for his servicer, shall not exceed two thousand dollars per annum. Gordon's Dig. art. 211.
     2. If a contract be so vague in its terms, that its meaning cannot be certainly collected, and the statute of frauds preclude the admissibility of parol evidence to clear up the difficulty; 5 Barn. & Cr. 588; S. C. 12 Eng. Com. L. R. 827; or parol evidence cannot supply the defect, then neither at law, nor in equity, can effect be given to it. 1 Russ. & M. 116; 1 Ch. Pr. 123.
     3. It is a maxim of law, that, that is certain which may be made certain; certum est quod certum reddi potest Co. Litt. 43; for example, when a man sells the oil he has in his store at so much a gallon, although there is uncertainty as to the quantity of oil, yet inasmuch as it can be ascertained, the maxim applies, and the sale is good. Vide generally, Story, Eq. El. Sec. 240 to 256; Mitf. Pl. by Jeremy, 41; Coop. Eq. Pl. 5; Wigr. on Disc. 77.

CERTAINTY, pleading. By certainty is understood a clear and distinct statement of the facts which constitute the cause of action, or ground of defence, so that they may be understood by the party who is to answer them, by the jury who are to ascertain the truth of the allegations, and by the court who are to give the judgment. Cowp. 682; Co. Litt. 308; 2 Bos. & Pull. 267; 13 East, R. 107; Com. Dig. Pleader, C 17; Hob. 295. Certainty has been stated by Lord Coke, Co. Litt. 303, a, to be of three sorts namely, 1. certainty to a common intent 2. to a certain intent in general; and, 3. to a certain intent in every particular. In the case of Dovaston.v. Paine Buller, J. said he remembered to have heard Mr. Justice Ashton treat these distinctions as a jargon of words without meaning; 2 H. Bl. 530. They have, however, long been made, and ought not altogether to be departed from.
     2.-1. Certainty to a common intent is simply a rule of construction. It occurs when words are used which will bear a natural sense, and also an artificial one, or one to be made out by argument or inference. Upon the ground of this rule the natural sense of words is adopted, without addition. 2 H. Bl. 530.
     3.-2. Certainty to, a certain intent in general, is a greater degree of certainty than the last, and means what upon a fair and reasonable construction may be called certain, without recurring to possible facts which do not appear; 9 Johns. R. 317; and is what is required in declarations, replications, and indictments, in the charge or accusation, and in returns to writs of mandamus. See 1 Saund. 49, n. 1; 1 Dougl. 159; 2 Johns. Cas. 339; Cowp. 682; 2 Mass. R. 363 by some of which authorities, it would seem, certainty to a common intent is sufficient in a declaration.
     4.-3. The third degree of certainty, is that which precludes all argument, inference, or presumption against the party, pleading, and is that technical accuracy which is not liable to the most subtle and scrupulous objections, so that it is not merely a rule of construction, but of addition; for where this certainty is necessary, the party must not only state the facts of his case in the most precise way, but add to them such as show that they are not to be controverted, and, as it were, anticipate the case of his adversary. Lawes on Pl. 54, 55. See 1 Chitty on Pl. 235 to 241.

References in classic literature ?
His next proceeding was of a far more serious kind; his next proceeding implied a terrible certainty of success.
Experience has instructed us that no skill in the science of government has yet been able to discriminate and define, with sufficient certainty, its three great provinces the legislative, executive, and judiciary; or even the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches.
Once you have mathematical certainty there is nothing left to do or to understand.
I will tell you what, my pleasant fellow,' rejoined Toby quickly, 'if you are going to pry into everything you meet with here that excites your curiosity, you will marvellously soon get knocked on the head; to a dead certainty you will come bang upon a party of these savages in the midst of your discovery-makings, and I doubt whether such an event would particularly delight you, just take my advice for once, and let us 'bout ship and steer in some other direction; besides, it's getting late and we ought to be mooring ourselves for the night.
In the certainty of recovering your freedom some day, I suppose?
Certainly the ablest men that ever were, have had all an openness, and frankness, of dealing; and a name of certainty and veracity; but then they were like horses well managed; for they could tell passing well, when to stop or turn; and at such times, when they thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass that the former opinion, spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.
From the present mode of education we cannot determine with certainty to which men incline, whether to instruct a child in what will be useful to him in life; or what tends to virtue, and what is excellent: for all these things have their separate defenders.
But the fear of not being able to carry it through effectively has always made me shy of assuming the moral attitude; and in this case the certainty that my sentiments would be lost on Strickland made it peculiarly embarrassing to utter them.
But in the case of an execution, that last hope--having which it is so immeasurably less dreadful to die,--is taken away from the wretch and CERTAINTY substituted in its place
The certainty overwhelmed him so that he scarcely knew what he was doing; the blood rushed to his cheeks, and although he had quite made up his mind to ask her to marry him, the certainty that she loved him seemed to change the situation so completely that he could not do it.
Rachel watched the people for some time longer; she was fascinated by the certainty and the grace of their movements, and by the inevitable way in which they seemed to follow each other, and loiter and pass on and disappear.
His certainty that Raffles, unless he were dead, would return to Middlemarch before long, had been justified.