Words related to sure

secure (adj.)

1530s, "without care or fear, dreading no evil" (a sense now archaic), from Latin securus, of persons, "free from care, quiet, easy," also in a bad sense, "careless, reckless;" of things, "tranquil; free from danger, safe," from *se cura, from se "free from" (see se-) + cura "care" (see cure (n.)).

In early use it often implied "over-confident, too sure." In English, in reference to places, "free from danger, unexposed," by c. 1600. The mechanical meaning "firmly fixed" (of material things) is by 1841, extended from the mental meaning "affording grounds for confidence" (1580s) hence "of such stability, strength, etc. to preclude risk." Of telephones or telephone lines, "not wiretapped," by 1961.

The earlier word, or form of the word, was Middle English siker, from Old English sicor, an earlier borrowing of the same Latin word, and sure (adj.) is a doublet, altered in its passage through Old French. Related: Securely.

sugar (n.)

late 13c., sugre, from Old French sucre "sugar" (12c.), from Medieval Latin succarum, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit sharkara "ground or candied sugar," originally "grit, gravel" (cognate with Greek kroke "pebble"). The Arabic word also was borrowed in Italian (zucchero), Spanish (azucar, with the Arabic article), and German (Old High German zucura, German Zucker), and its forms are represented in most European languages (such as Serbian cukar, Polish cukier, Russian sakhar).

Its Old World home was India (Alexander the Great's companions marveled at the "honey without bees") and it remained exotic in Europe until the Arabs began to cultivate it in Sicily and Spain; not until after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as the West's sweetener. The Spaniards in the West Indies began raising sugar cane in 1506; first grown in Cuba 1523; first cultivated in Brazil 1532. The reason for the -g- in the English word is obscure (OED compares flagon, from French flacon). The pronunciation shift from s- to sh- is probably from the initial long vowel sound syu- (as in sure).

As a type of chemical compound from 1826. Slang "euphemistic substitute for an imprecation" [OED] is attested from 1891. As a term of endearment, first recorded 1930. Sugar-cane is from 1560s. Sugar-maple is from 1731. Sugar loaf was originally a moulded conical mass of refined sugar (early 15c.); now obsolete, but sense extended 17c. to hills, hats, etc. of that shape.


representing African-American vernacular pronunciation of more, by 1902; it was an acceptable variant form of more in the Middle Ages and has roots in Old English; see more.

Grief is but a wound to woe ;
Gentlest fair, mourn, mourn no mo.
[John Fletcher (1579–1625), rhymed couplet from "Queen of Corinth"] 
rudesby (n.)

"insolent person, boisterous fellow," 1560s, a mock surname from rude + -by, common ending element in place-names (and thus surnames), as in Grimsby, Rigby, Catesby. Similar formations in idlesby "lazy fellow" (1610s), sneaksby "paltry, sneaking fellow" (1570s), suresby (16c.), lewdsby (1590s), nimblesby (1610s).

cocksure (adj.)

also cock-sure, 1510s, "certain, confident," from cock (n.1) + sure (adj.). Probably "as assured as a cock." "The word was originally perfectly dignified, and habitually used in the most solemn connexions" [OED]. D.H. Lawrence playfully coined hensure as a female version (1929).

ensure (v.)

late 14c., from Anglo-French enseurer, from en- "make" (see en- (1)) + Old French seur "sure" (see sure); probably influenced by Old French asseurer "assure." Compare insure. Related: Ensured; ensures; ensuring.

insurance (n.)

1550s, "engagement to marry," a variant of ensurance "an assurance, pledge, guarantee," from Old French enseurance "assurance," from ensurer, from en- "make" (see en- (1)) + sur "safe, secure, undoubted" (see sure (adj.)).

Commercial sense of "security against loss or death in exchange for payment" is from 1650s. Assurance was the older word for this specific sense (late 16c.). Compare insure.

insure (v.)

mid-15c., insuren, spelling variant of ensuren "to assure, give formal assurance" (late 14c.), also "make secure, make safe" (c. 1400), from Anglo-French enseurer, Old French ensurer, from en- "make" (see en- (1)) + seur, sur "safe, secure, undoubted" (see sure (adj.)).

The particular commercial senses of "make safe against loss by payment of premiums; undertake to ensure against loss, etc." are from mid-17c. (replacing assure in that meaning). Related: Insured; insuring.

surefire (adj.)

also sure-fire, by 1864, American English, from sure + fire (v.). Originally of rifles.

surely (adv.)

14c., from sure (adj.) + -ly (2).